Burundi protests after truce ends

2015-05-04 10:50
Burundian riot police chase away protesters after blocking the roads in Musaga, on the outskirts of Bujumbura. (File: AFP)

Burundian riot police chase away protesters after blocking the roads in Musaga, on the outskirts of Bujumbura. (File: AFP)

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Bujumbura - Protesters in Burundi took to the streets of the capital on Monday after the end of a two-day truce following a week of violent political protests.

The small central African nation has been rocked by demonstrations that began last week against a bid by President Pierre Nkurunziza to serve a third term in office.

At least 200 protesters gathered in a suburb of the capital Bujumbura, shouting at police, who have for days blocked roads to prevent demonstrators from moving into the centre of the city.

President Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005. His supporters, however, say he is eligible to run again, since his first term in office followed his election by parliament - not directly by the people as the constitution specifies.

Tensions

The opposition protesters announced a two-day truce over the weekend but have threatened to return to the streets on Monday unless Nkurunziza backs down.

"Let us through!" demonstrators shouted, as soldiers sought to ease tensions between the police and demonstrators.

Since the protests started, the army has regularly come between the police and demonstrators to avoid further clashes and the protesters believe the soldiers are neutral.

At least 10 people have died and scores more have been hurt since the protests began last weekend. Nearly 600 people have also been arrested, according to police.

The government linked a grenade attack that killed three people, including to police officers, in the early hours of Saturday to the opposition protests and branded the demonstrators "enemies of the state".

Read more on:    pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi protests

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