In October 2013, Blaise Compaoré had ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years. However, the Constitution would have prevented him from running for President again in the 2015 elections. Compaoré had manipulated term limits in the past before, and he survived soldiers’ mutinies and popular protests calling for his resignation in 2011. In October 2014, he planned to change the Constitution to allow him to run for office again.
In Burkina Faso from December 1998 through September 2001, protesters demonstrated against the government’s supposed cover-up of journalist Norbert Zongo’s homicide. Prior to his death, Zongo, a prominent writer for an independent magazine, was known for his criticisms of the government with regards to its policy of impunity (that is, perpetrators of violent crimes are neither taken to court nor punished).