Saturday, April 25th, the current president announced he was going to run for a third term. Unbelievable. He is violating the constitution and the peace accords of 2005 so he can stay in power and continue to line his pockets with money. Sadly, he acts more like a dictator than an elected leader. The police and the army are loyal to him and do his bidding. Hence, we saw the violence last week at a demonstration for the opposition. I looked it up on-line and the last time he was elected, there was violence, cheating, fraud, intimidation of the opposition. That appears to be his campaign strategy!
Today, Sunday April 26th, we were cautioned there would be a large demonstration against the president's running again for office. We were showing the April Conference in Branch 2/3, so we went ahead and went there to get things set up. Continuing heavy police presence on the streets. The first session of the Sunday Conference meetings was almost over when we got word the protests had turned deadly. There was a fatality in a neighborhood that bordered our house. There was some concern about roads being closed or blocked with protesters, so we went ahead and left without listening to the last talk.. The government has blocked radio stations.
Today is Monday, the 27th of April. We went to the Immigration building and were waiting outside for Aloys when we saw 3 water cannon trucks go by. They were followed by a truck-full of armed soldiers who went tearing down the street. Not long after that we saw black clouds of smoke rising
in a couple of different areas. (Guessing that they were tires that had been set on fire.) Gunshots rang out over the next 30 minutes or so.
We found out that yesterday 2 unarmed people were shot to death by the police and another 4 are in the hospital. The Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Public Security, and the Minister of Communication went to the radio station RPA and forced their way through a door into the RPA radio station and told them to stop broadcasting things that were currently happening. They have cut the land lines so no one can get radio broadcasts in the interior of the country. Local radio stations are commanded to only play music. They are attempting to stop communication about current events. Police have broken into homes to arrest the opposition.
There is no school today and businesses have been asked to close their doors as a protest directed at the president. Traffic is extremely light, many are just staying home. If you are interested, you can go on-line to see stories about the current events in Bujumbura. Go to News for Burundi, and you will find stories by ABC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, and more.
To lighten the mood, here are some photos of beautiful flowers here in Bujumbura. Oh, and also more kitten shots. This is the equivalent of meditation and humming to regain your "wa." (inner peace)