Hundreds rally in Burundian capital to protest UN police deployment

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Bujumbara on Saturday to protest the deployment of a UN police force to Burundi amid demonstrators' fears for the country's sovereignty.

The UN Security Council on Friday authorized a French-drafted proposal to deploy a 228-member force to Burundi despite concerns from some council members over the lack of consent from the government.

"We will never allow a UN policeman to set foot in Burundi, unless we're all dead. Burundi is a sovereign country and France has to respect that," one of the protesters said.

Many of the slogans and banners in Saturday's demonstration were directed toward France.

"France needs troops to maintain peace: more than 100 dead in Nice," one of the banners read. The Bastille Day attack referenced by the banner, during which a man mowed down crowds of people with a truck in the southern French city, left 84 dead.

Burundi does not need additional security forces, other banners read.

A former colony of Germany and Belgium, Burundi has been embroiled in a political crisis since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would stand for a third term in office against the terms of the constitution.

Since then several hundred people have been killed in protests, most of them by security forces.

Around 250,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries. Burundi's civil war ended in 2005 after claiming some 300,000 lives.

Last update: Sat, 30/07/2016 - 21:21

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