Deadly Burundi protests after president seeks third term

  • 26 April 2015
  • From the section Africa
Media captionThe BBC's Maud Julien on the streets of Bujumbura as the protests flare up

At least two people have been killed in violent clashes in Burundi, a day after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his bid for a third term in office.

Thousands defied a ban to take to the streets of the capital Bujumbura. Police shot live ammunition in the air to disperse them.

President Nkurunziza was nominated to run by his governing CNDD-FDD party.

Opponents say it is unconstitutional and threatens a peace deal that ended the 12-year civil war in 2005.

More than 300,000 people died in the war.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protesters pelted police with rocks...
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption ...who used tear gas to disperse them

Angry protesters on Sunday threw rocks and lit tyres. Police responded with tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition, blocking access to the centre of the capital.

The Burundian Red Cross spokesman Alexis Manirakiza told the BBC that at least five protesters were injured in the clashes and that one was in a coma.

Many demonstrators have been detained.

Police also threatened to shut down a private radio station unless it stopped live broadcasts about the protests.

At his nomination by a special party congress, President Nkurunziza said: "I call people to go to the election in peace.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There was a strong security presence on the streets of the capital
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The protesters are angry at the president's decision to seek a third term

"But I would like to warn everyone: Whoever wants to create problems with the ruling party elected by the people, he'll find himself in trouble," he added, Reuters reported.

Mr Nkurunziza has served two terms as president, coming to the office at the end of the civil war.

Burundi's constitution only allows the president to be elected twice. But Mr Nkurunziza's supporters argue he is eligible for another term since he was appointed by parliament in 2005.

More than 12,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries in recent weeks citing violence ahead of June's presidential election, the UN refugee agency says.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Nkurunziza has already served two terms as president

More on this story

Around the BBC