Arrested students freed, parents want campuses opened

Fifty students in Burkina Faso arrested during violent demonstrations against the closure of university services during the holidays have been granted provisional release by the Ouagadougou appeal court, which overturned a previous court decision refusing them bail.

Meanwhile students’ parents have called for the closed campus facilities to be reopened.

The 50 accused, detained since the beginning of August, were released on 23 August, 10 days after the tribunal de grande instance had ruled that they should remain in prison on charges of vandalism during public demonstrations and actual bodily harm, reported L’Observateur Paalga of Ouagadougou.

The students were among protesters who clashed with police when university authorities announced the closure of student accommodation and restaurants during the holidays.

Following the university closures the UNAPES-B union of parents of secondary pupils and higher education students met interested parties including the head of the student services centre, the president of the University of Ouagadougou-2, an official from the education ministry and, later, student representatives.

After making inquiries the parents issued a statement, published in Le Pays. They claimed that the crisis was due partly to lack of open communication between the authorities and the students, and had been aggravated by lack of preventive measures by the authorities, and that the “explosion which could have been avoided” was due to an “uncontrolled and non-conciliatory attitude of the forces of order”.

While regretting the damage to public and private property, UNAPES-B rejected the “barbarous methods of repression” of the police on campus.

It called for resources to be made available to solve the problem, and appealed to the prime minister to take action, including reopening student services during the current university holiday and resolution of the problem for the future.

It also called on politicians to ensure that the young were taught to respect public property, reject violence and engage in constructive dialogue and peaceful culture, and to educate them in methods of union action; and on students to favour dialogue and avoid violence, and to involve their parents in looking for solutions to their problems.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.