Police in the capital of Burundi clashed on Sunday, April 26, 2015 with groups of protesters who had gathered to demonstrate against President Pierre Nkurunziza seeking a third term in office.
What had started as a small demonstration soon turned violent, with police firing tear gas to disperse the protesters.
“It started off calmly but, as more people started to congregate and to push towards the police lines, the police started to fire tear gas and the protesters started to throw stones at the police” reported FRANCE 24’s Duncan Woodside.
Shortly afterwards the protesters were setting up makeshift barricade. The situation escalated when a protester was shot dead near Hope University as the police used live ammunition to disperse the crowds, later a second protester had also died.
Local media reports added that several more people have been wounded in the capital, while several police have also been hurt in stone-throwing while trying to prevent thousands of youths from marching to the city centre.
One protester was shot in the arm and witnesses said two other demonstrators received gunshot wounds. At least seven anti-riot police were also injured by stone throwing.
The protests come the day after the ruling CNDD-FDD party designated President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for the June 26 presidential elections.
Protesters are taking to the streets because they know that if Nkurunziza is selected by the ruling party, he will almost certainly win the election in a context where the ruling party controls most of the country’s resources.
Opposition figures and rights groups say the move is unconstitutional and say the president’s effort to cling to power could push Burundi — which emerged from civil war in 2006 — back into violence.