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Burkina Faso

Harsch, Ernest, Unsung Hero: Popular Resistance Key to Defeating Burkina Faso Coup, World Politics Review, 2015, pp. 1-8

The attempt by the previous president, Blaise Compaore (forced to resign a year earlier) to topple President Kafando. was defeated within a week.  The role of neighbouring states, the African Union and UN in condemning the coup and threatening sanctions played a part. But the immediate resistance by young people and civil society groups, together with unions calling a ten day general strike, played a key role.  (For further analysis of wider struggle for democracy in Burkina Faso see Vol.1. E.1.2.3.)

Manji, Firoze ; Ekine, Sokari, African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions, ed. Manji, Firoze, Ekine, Sokari, Cape Town, Dakar, Nairobi and Oxford, Pambazuka Press (imprint of Fahamu), 2011, pp. 234

These are largely contemporaneous accounts, lightly revised from Pambazuka News, Pan-African Voices for Freedom and Justice, As well as interesting contributions on Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Algeria (noted again under E.V), this book covers unrest in a number of Sub-Saharan countries:

‘People’s revolts in Burkina Faso’, February-April 2011, involving students, the broad population and army mutinies (unfortunately the mutineers did not make common cause with the civilian protesters), pp. 131-46.

A ‘Protest Diary’ from Cameroon in February 2011, by presidential candidate Kah Walla, blogs about strictly nonviolent protests brutally suppressed (pp.107-10).

In Swaziland (pp. 155-169) the 12-15 April 2011 popular demonstrations went ahead in the face of roadblocks and despite the arrests of virtually the entire leadership of the democratic association, perhaps signalling ‘the beginning of the end’ for the absolute monarchy.

Wienkoop, ; Kathryn, Nina ; Bertrand, Eloise, Popular Resistance to Authoritarian Consolidation in Burkina Faso, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2018

The article examines the popular insurrection in 2014 when President Compaore tried to consolidate his power by changing the constitution, as well as the resistance to his coup attempt against the transitional president in 2015. and considers factors in the popular success.

See also:

Hagberg, Sten, 'The Legacy of Revolution and Resistance in Burkina Faso', SIPRI: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute,22 Febuary, 2016.

Zunes, Stephen, Civil Resistance against Coups: A Comparative and Historical Perspective, ICNC Monograph Series, Washington D.C., ICNC, 2017, pp. 104 pb

Zunes provides detailed case studies of civil resistance to military coups in recent decades.  His aim is to advance an analysis of the role of civil society and nonviolent movements in resisting such takeovers, and the role of international pressure and solidarity by both governments and activists. Eight coup attempts defeated by popular resistance are analyzed, including Bolivia, 1978, the USSR 1991, Thailand 1992 and Burkina Faso 2015, as well as four in which resistance did not succeed. Available in PDF at:


See also Vol.1. E.II.1.c. Burma: Resisting the 2021 Coup, which covers the mass popular mobilization against the February 2021 coup by the Burmese military junta.