BURUNDI: Over 200 Protesting Students Seek Refuge In US Embassy
Over 200 students protesting against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempts to run for a third term in office managed to break into the US embassy in Burundi after police threatened to break up their camp outside the compound.
Armed US marines watched from the embassy roof as students, seeking refuge in the embassy, climbed under the gate and over the wall on Thursday before sitting inside the compound with their hands raised after abandoning their camp, established outside the complex in late April.
The US embassy staff urged the government to find a “peaceful resolution,” but US Ambassador Dawn Liberi later managed to convince the students to leave peacefully, with some returning to again camp outside the mission.
“The US ambassador came to see us and told us she had done everything to help us, but that we couldn’t spend the night in the embassy,” said one of the students, who gave his name as Fabrice.
Bujumbura has been in turmoil since late April, when Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid for a third consecutive term, triggering widespread protests and a failed coup attempt.
Two grenade blasts in Bujumbura on Thursday wounded at least eight people, the latest in a string of such attacks since the unrest began.
Parliamentary elections are due to be held on Monday, ahead of the presidential vote on July 15.