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Burkina Faso is burning, on the cusp of regime change

President Blaise Compaoré's 27 years in control of the West African nation Burkina Faso appear to be near an end, one way or another. On Thursday, hundreds of protesters stormed parliament in Ouagadougou, the capital, and set it ablaze, along with city hall, the ruling party headquarters, and homes of some of Compaoré's relatives and advisers. They also took over the state TV broadcaster. Security forces shot dead at least three protesters and wounded many others.

Late Thursday, armed forces chief Gen. Honoré Traoré announced the dissolution of parliament and said Burkina Faso will be governed by a transitional authority until new elections in about a year, though he didn't say who would lead the interim government. In a televised statement, Compaoré said he will lead the transitional government and had scrapped the constitutional amendment to extend his presidency that sparked the protests.

Comparoré took power in a coup in 1987, but has won four elections since. A 2000 constitutional amendment set a limit of two five-year terms, and parliament was set to vote on a proposal to allow Compaoré to stay on after his latest term ends next year. Now, "I am giving him 24 to 48 hours before he is forced to step down," a senior adviser to Ivory Coast's president, a longtime Compaoré ally, tells The New York Times. "I don't see how he can continue to hold power."

The former French colony, a gold and cotton exporter, is one of the poorest countries in Africa. This report from Reuters has more details about the ongoing uprising. --Peter Weber