Burundi protests resume

Shots have been fired in the Burundi capital as protests continue against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

FILE: A screengrab picture shows thousands of anti-president protesters in Burundi took to the streets to protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's third term approval.

PRETORIA - Shots have been fired in the Burundi capital as protests continue against President Pierre Nkurunziza standing for an unconstitutional third term in office.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Bujumbura after an opposition politician was killed at the weekend.

Nkurunziza's call for an end to demonstrations hasn't been heeded by protesters who have been on the streets for nearly a month.

The government has denied involvement in the killing of Zedi Feruzi, leader of the small opposition party Union for Peace and Democracy, but demonstrators were not convinced.

They're threatening continued defiance of a government ban on demonstrations.

They're saying those who killed Feruzi will not win.

Protesters erected burning barricades; and gunshots were heard in some neighbourhoods, with demonstrators saying police are using live bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowds.


The United Nations, the European Union and African nations urged Burundi's government and the opposition not to let violence derail dialogue, after an opposition politician was shot dead and some groups said they were boycotting talks.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others condemned the killing by unidentified gunmen on Saturday of Zedi Feruzi, the head of the UPD party, who opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third five-year term.

Nkurunziza's decision to run again has triggered the worst crisis in the small African country since the end of an ethnically charged civil war in 2005. The longer unrest lasts, the more chance of a return to ethnic violence, diplomats say.

UN special envoy to the region, Said Djinnit, the African Union and other regional African states have been sponsoring dialogue between rival sides since 5 May to end the crisis.

"They strongly urge all participants to remain fully engaged in the dialogue," the sponsors said in a joint statement after the latest round of talks in Bujumbura on Sunday that were boycotted by some parties and civil society groups.

Separately, the EU, the biggest donor to aid-reliant Burundi, urged "all parties to engage in good faith" in talks.

Opponents say Nkurunziza's re-election bid violates a two-term limit in the constitution and a peace deal that ended civil conflict. Protesters have regularly clashed with police in the past month and unrest provoked a failed military coup on 13 May.

The president, who has called protests an "insurrection", points to a constitutional court ruling that said his first term, when he was picked by parliament not a popular vote, did not count. He has shown no signs of backing down from his bid.

The UN secretary-general called on parties involved in talks "not to be deterred by those who, through violence, seek to prevent the creation of an environment conducive to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Burundi," his office said.