The landlocked West African country has seen several deadly attacks by armed groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL.
Thousands have taken to the streets of Burkina Faso to demand a stronger response to rising bloodshed after a massacre last month killed more than 130 people.
Some had traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend the opposition-led demonstration in the capital, Ouagadougou, where protesters waved the red and green flag of the Burkinabe and whistled on Saturday.
Al Qaeda-linked armed groups and ISIL (ISIS) originally based in neighboring Mali have been embedded in the north and east of the country, launching regular attacks on civilians.
“We had to show our dissatisfaction, show the anguish of the citizens crying for security and peace,” opposition supporter Alpha Yago said on the sidelines of the protest.
A protester held up a banner with a photo of coffins with a flag and the slogan: “Mr. President, have the courage to decide. We are fed up! ”
It was the first march organized by opposition and civil society groups since President Roch Marc Christian Kabore re-elected last year.
Kabore had asked the organizers to postpone the march. But opposition leader Eddie Komboigo welcomed “a large-scale mobilization across the country despite government calls for a boycott.”
“Today, from Dori to Kampti, from Dedougou to Diebougou, from Ouagadougou to Diapaga, people have demonstrated to protest against the worsening security situation,” he said.
“During Kabore’s first term, there were officially more than 1,300 dead and 1.2 million internally displaced,” he added.
“It is feared that the second term will be worse than the first because since the beginning of the year we have had more than 300 deaths.”
Anger has been on the rise since the night of June 4, when most deadly attack in years it was made in the village of Solhan.
According to the government, gunmen, including “12- to 14-year-olds,” said they killed at least 132 people.
Local sources said the toll was 160, including many children.
Civil society figure Aristide Ouedraogo said that “in light of the latest macabre advances on the security front, it was time to send a strong signal to leaders to unite.”
Chukwuemeka Eze, executive director of the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding Network, said many in Burkina Faso have lost confidence in the government.
“Every time an attack occurs, the president limits his communication … and people start to feel helpless, they think the increase in attacks is a testament to the weakness of the Burkina Faso government,” he said. Eze a Al Jazeera.
“The government needs to engage more with the opposition and civil society … and [it needs] to develop some kind of community-based early warning system that will anchor people, ”he added.
In response to the growing fury, Kabore fired his defense and security ministers on Wednesday. Kabore himself assumed the post of Minister of Defense.
Despite the presence of thousands of UN peacekeepers, attacks by rebel groups in the Sahel region of West Africa have increased sharply since the beginning of the year, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with civilians which carry the weight.