Police in Burkina Faso fired tear gas on Friday to disperse angry protesters who attempted to storm the French embassy in the capital Ouagadougou, local media reported.
The protesters, who were demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador, rallied at the municipal stadium in the morning before heading to the French embassy, where they were dispersed by police tear gas, according to the local daily Le Faso.
“Police fired tear gas after negotiations with the protesters asking them to leave the scene peacefully failed. But the protesters responded by stoning the embassy,” it said.
The protesters later reportedly headed toward Kamboinse, where a French military base is located.
Video footage showed the protesters, some riding on motorcycles, blowing whistles and vuvuzelas shouting slogans such as “down with France.”
The protesters, mainly youth, accuse France of being responsible for Burkina Faso’s problems, including insecurity.
They also want the military to sever the security partnership with France in favor of Russia.
There was no immediate comment from the French embassy.
But in a statement on previous demonstrations following the September coup, the embassy “firmly denied” any French involvement in the events in Burkina Faso.
France maintains a military presence in Burkina Faso, with a contingent of special forces based in Kamboinsin, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Ouagadougou.
“For a long time, we have said that we no longer want France in our country. It is France that is responsible for our misfortunes. We have protested before but they are still here. But today is the last day….,” the newspaper quoted a protester as saying.
Last month, anti-French protesters waving Russian flags demonstrated in the capital.
After the January coup which deposed elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, angry soldiers led by Capt. Ibrahim Traore last month ousted Lt. Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba in a second coup in eight months.