Burkina Faso students demand striking teachers return

OUAGADOUGOU — Hundreds of students marched in Burkina Faso’ capital Ouagadougou on Friday to demand striking teachers return to the classroom.

“We want to go to class”, “We want government to solve our teachers’ problems,” the college and high school students shouted, gathering in front of the education ministry, national assembly, public television and prime minister’s office downtown, an AFP correspondent reported.

The protest went off without incident, as police kept close watch.

“The teachers said they will not give class until further notice,” said Marina Ilboudou, a student at Philippe Zina Kabore, Burkina Faso’s biggest high school.

Classes have been disrupted since May 16 at the school, where students first boycotted classes and blocked teachers’ access to the school after the reshuffling of a parents’ body.

Teachers then stopped working citing “lack of respect” from the students.

National teachers’ union secretary general Mamadou Barro said the strike began Thursday to protest unresolved demands by the teachers including overcrowded classrooms and promotions.

“Demands raised long after ours have been resolved. Billions have been allocated to satisfy the soldiers and millions to compensate traders. The teachers believe no citizen is more deserving than another,” he said.

Police and soldiers recently went on a spree of violent protests and mutiny across the country, and the government agreed to bonuses and other urgent measures to calm the situation.
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