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Shots fired in Burundi as police clash with protesters

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 01:28

Heavy gunfire and teargas were fired as police clashed with stone throwing protesters in Burundi's capital on Tuesday during a demonstration against the president's bid for a third term. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)

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STORY: The clashes came during a protest in a suburb of Bujumbara. Hundreds of protesters had gathered. The protesters were demonstrating against Pierre Nkurunziza whose third election run they say violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended civil war in 2005. Protesters grabbed one policewoman and beat her up, accusing her of firing at them. Television pictures show police officers battling with protesters in a bid to rescue their colleague. She was later released after sustaining injuries. Protesters in Butarere, one of the suburbs of the capital where there have been frequent rallies, had built barricades on the roads, using stones and burning tyres. Local media said they had tried to block the airport road but police stopped them. "Whichever policeman has a wife in this area should take her to the camp, they should not be coming here and all other policemen we can finish all the police in this area, we will only fear the army," said a protester who declined to give his name. "Here in Buterere we want good leadership because the people are suffering as you can see here today. We do not want his third term; his third term is what we do not want. Policemen are killing civilians even my friend is injured and currently at the ambulance," added another protester. During more than two weeks of protests that have plunged the nation into a crisis, police have fired in the air and have been seen shooting in the direction of protesters. A protester told Reuters a woman was shot dead in Butarere, where there was heavy gunfire. Local media, citing police, said a grenade thrown in another district killed two people. A police spokesman had no immediate comment, but police officers have regularly denied shooting at protesters. If confirmed, the deaths would take the number killed since demonstrations erupted on April 26 to at least 22, based on an unofficial tally by activists. The unrest has plunged the poor African nation into its worst crisis since the end of a conflict a decade ago that pitted rebel groups of the majority ethnic Hutus, including one led by Nkurunziza, against minority Tutsis, who led the army. East African leaders, including Nkurunziza, will meet in Tanzania on Wednesday (May 13) to discuss the crisis and rising tensions in a region with a history of ethnic conflict. More than 50,000 people have fled Burundi to neighbouring states seeking safety. Nkurunziza has said he would press on with his election bid, although the United States, other Western nations and several African countries have urged him not to run.

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Shots fired in Burundi as police clash with protesters

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 - 01:28