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Burundians protest despite police crackdown

22 May 2015 14:48


Burundians protest despite police crackdown

Anti-government demonstrators have taken to the streets in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, despite a harsh crackdown by police to end weeks of protests.

The protesters gathered in the capital’s Cibitoke and Mutakura districts on Friday.

The demonstrators said they were attempting to organize more protests in other districts.

The protests come a day after two demonstrators were killed and eight others were injured in clashes in the capital. Gunshots were also heard overnight in the flashpoint district of Musaga.

The country has been witnessing clashes since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his plans to run for a third term in late April.

Earlier this month, Major General Godefroid Niyombare, a former intelligence chief, led a coup attempt against Nkurunziza’s administration. The coup attempt failed, however, when factions of the army loyal to Nkurunziza cracked down on those participating in it.

The opposition says the president’s attempt to run again is in violation of the constitution, which only allows two five-year terms for a president.

Nkurunziza, nevertheless, argues that he can still run for president as his rise to power after Burundi’s 12-year civil war back in 2005 did not come through direct voting.

Scores of people have been killed and dozens of others injured since last month.

Burundi, a small nation in Africa’s Great Lakes region, emerged in 2005 from a brutal 12-year civil war. In October 1993, Melchior Ndadaye, the first democratically-elected president of Burundi, who came from the Hutu ethnic group, was assassinated after only 100 days in office. The assassination triggered deadly ethnic violence between Hutus and Tutsis, another ethnic group in Burundi.

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