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May 4, 2015 6:41 AM

Burundi: Anti-government protests enter second week

The Associated Press

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) Anti-government demonstrations resumed in Burundi's capital Monday after a weekend pause as thousands continued to protest the president's decision to seek a third term.

Some protesters managed to reach downtown Bujumbura, which they had previously failed to access amid heavy police and military presence. Gunfire rang out and men ducked for cover as some shopkeepers hurriedly closed their businesses.

The military is continuing to act as a buffer between angry protesters and the police, who are accused of sometimes using live ammunition in confrontations with demonstrators. Police have also fired tear gas and water cannon. At least six people were killed in clashes with the police last week, according to the Burundi Red Cross.

In the Musaga neighborhood, where anti-government anger has been particularly intense, barricades were erected as police watched on Monday.

Protesters say their goal is to force President Pierre Nkurunziza to withdraw his bid for a third term, which many see as a violation of the Arusha Agreements that ended a civil war here in which more than 250,000 people were killed.

Burundi's defense minister, Maj. Gen. Pontien Gaciyubwenge, said on Saturday that the army should remain neutral amid the unrest. He urged "all political actors" to avoid violence.

Nkurunziza, a Hutu, was selected president by Parliament in 2005. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010. His supporters say he is not limited to the constitutional two elected terms in office because he was voted in by lawmakers for his first term.


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