BURKINA FASO (Country risk rating: High); 28 to 30 October; Countrywide civil disobedience campaign begins

Security forces used teargas and baton charges to disperse anti-government protesters who took to the streets of Burkina Faso‘s capital, Ouagadougou, on 28 October. The incident marked the start of a countrywide civil disobedience campaign organised against the government of Blaise Compaore. Follow-up protests are expected in the capital and the city of Bobo-Dioulasso on 29 October, which will also be accompanied by a countrywide general strike. Opposition parties have called upon activists to block the Burkinabe National Assembly in Ouagadougou on 30 October. The civil disobedience campaign has been organised in response to government plans to submit a bill to the legislature (National Assembly) on 30 October which, if accepted, would allow the government to hold a referendum on amending Article 37 of the Constitution. If accepted, the amendment would extend presidential term limits. This would, in effect, allow the current and long-standing president, Blaise Compaore, to stand for re-election in November 2015.

Protestors burn barricades in Ouagadougou on October 28, 2014 at a demonstration against against a proposal to amend the constitution to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year-rule

If the amendment passes, an escalation in protest activity is possible in the coming weeks, including in the run up to any eventual referendum on the matter (late 2014 or early 2015). The threat of violence at all related gatherings is considered elevated. Persons in Burkina Faso over the coming week are advised to monitor local developments closely. All street protests, concentrations of security force facilities and travel at night should be avoided as a precaution. A heightened level of personal security awareness is advised in past and potential protest areas (public squares, government buildings and main roads). Clients should also ensure that fuel and other essential commodities, such as foodstuffs, are fully stocked in anticipation of possible protest-related business operating hour and supply chain disruptions.