UN Decision Triggers Protest in Burundi

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Around 1,000 people have marched through the streets of Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, to protest against a UN decision to send a police contingent to monitor the security and human rights situation in the country.

Saturday's demonstration came a day after the UN Security Council agreed to deploy up to 228 police personnel to Bujumbura, and throughout Burundi, for an initial period of a year.


More than 450 people have been killed since President Pierre Nkurunziza pursued and won a third term last year, a move his opponents say violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005.

Tit-for-tat violence by rival sides has left both government officials and members of the opposition dead, with more than a quarter of a million people fleeing the violence.
Led by Freddy Mbonimpa, the mayor of Bujumbura, the protesters marched peacefully on Saturday to the French embassy, angry at France's drafting of the UN resolution to send the police squad.
One demonstrator carried a banner saying that it was France that needed UN peacekeepers, making a reference to a lorry attack in the southern French city of Nice that killed 84 people.

French ambassador Gerrit van Rossum, who went out to address the crowd, said there was "a deep misunderstanding" about France's role at the UN security council.
He said there was "no problem" at the demonstration.
The crowd also protested outside the Rwandan embassy, accusing the neighbouring country of training Burundi rebels.
Nkurunziza's government has previously said it would only accept up to 50 unarmed UN police and that its sovereignty must be fully respected.

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