By Patrick Nduwimana
BUJUMBURA – Two protesters were killed on Monday, a leading rights activist said, as demonstrations against a decision by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s to seek a third term in office ran into a second week.
Police in the Musaga district of Bujumbura fired shots towards lines of protesters who were hurling stones, a Reuters witness said. An explosion also wounded at least two officers who were taken away in ambulances.
Police spokesman Liboire Bakunduwukize denied two protesters were killed, and said 15 police were wounded when a hand grenade was thrown at them. He said police would respond in future.
“Today, tomorrow or the day after, wherever they will hurl grenades or wherever they will shoot, the police has a right to throw a grenade as well and even to shoot back and that’s how it will be,” he told reporters at the hospital where the wounded police were taken.
Hundreds of others demonstrators rallied in other districts.
“Please, Nkurunziza, give up the third term so that peace returns in the country,” demonstrators shouted in the Kinindo suburb, where dozens had gathered early in the morning.
Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader during an ethnically fuelled civil war that ended in 2005, has called the protests an “insurrectional movement” and warned of tough steps against those behind the demonstrations.
Civil society groups have said at least 11 people have been killed during the protests. Police put the number at six, including three members of the security forces.