Media trampled, but survive Burkina Faso's foiled coup

On September 17th, news began to surface that a military coup had taken place the day before, and that members of the military had officially taken control of the country.

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  1. Reports indicated that a group of soldiers from the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP) had stormed a cabinet meeting and seized the acting President and the Prime Minister, as well as two ministers. On Thursday morning, a member of the RSP announced that they were in control. The men behind the coup were supporters of former President Blaise Compaoré, and his party the Congress for Democracy and Progress (CDP), who had been ousted from power following a popular uprising in October 2014.
  2. The coup came just weeks before the national election scheduled for October 11th.

    The online Bukinabé community rapidly connected with each other using the hasthtag #lwili, which had become popular during the 2014 uprising in the country. Lwili means "bird" in Mooré, which is the most widely spoken language in Burkina Faso.
  3. Those responsible for the coup announced that General Gilbert Diendéré was the new President of the country. Diendéré is well known in Burkina Faso, where he had previously been a central figure in former President Compaoré's security and intelligence system.
  4. According to reports, the RSP surrounded the offices of Onatel, the only internet service provider in the country in the hopes of shutting down the internet. Though the internet remained on, reports also began to circulate that radio stations were being targeted: either having their signals cut or their offices raided.
  5. Or even being set on fire, like the community radio station Laafi FM, in Zorgho, a town east of the capital, Ouagadougou.
  6. Reports began to circulate on Twitter of individual journalists and photojournalists being attacked and targeted, either by protesters, RSP members, or CDP supporters.