Members of Burkina Faso’s opposition said this week that the protests in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, were “Burkina Faso’s Black Spring, like the Arab Spring.” So far, the trajectory of events on the ground looks eerily similar to many of the countries that experienced revolutions in 2011 -- small protests lead to mass demonstrations, which eventually lead to shifts in power. But it is unclear if Burkina Faso’s uprising will have a ripple effect in the rest of West Africa.
During the Arab Spring, countries like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia had similar economic, political and social struggles -- all of which contributed to their descent into chaos. One of the dominating factors in those uprisings was the countries' youth bulges. Most of the Arab Spring countries had large youth populations that spearheaded the protests and mobilized political groups. They were the driving force behind the eventual fall of several dictators. The demographic, economic and political circumstances in Burkina Faso suggest that it has the elements necessary to nurture such a revolution.
Opposition resistance in Burkina Faso had been building for weeks as the president made moves to try and extend his time in power. The resistance turned violent in the early hours of Thursday morning when members of the opposition stormed the streets in the capital and began setting fire to the homes of presidential aides and their relatives.