Friday, May 1, 2015

Tuesday, April 28th

Protests continue throughout the city, most businesses are closed, very little traffic on the streets.  From our house, we could hear automatic gunfire today.   The Red Cross says 6 protesters have been  killed so far.  Lots of soldiers and police on the streets, each one carrying an automatic rifle.

Wednesday, April 29th

We understand that a representative of the U.N has come to talk with the president, and President Obama has sent an envoy with a message from the U.S.  People hope that this will help the situation.  Some feel that the best outcome would be a military coup, deposing the "president" and placing a military leader in control until new elections could be scheduled for next year.

This evening, Gian Franco asked us to come to dinner at his house.  He had his mother-in-law, 2 sisters-in-law, another family member and 6 extra kids staying with him for the night in order to escape the violence in their neighborhood.  The African mamas prepared an African dish for us for dinner.  It was rice and a sauce made of cabbage, onions, peppers, tomatoes and nasty, whole little fish called dagala in it.  For the families at Gian Franco's house, the fear was that the out -of -control, armed youth group  (the Imbonerakure) would toss a grenade through their window or door during the night as vengeance for participating in the protests.

The young man who comes and takes our garbage came today and showed us a wound on his arm that he says happened when he was attacked by a member of the youth group in his neighborhood.  (Imbonerakure) Machete wound.

Thursday, April 30th

This morning we had to go to another quartier to pick up a sister missionary for a training session at our house.  On the way back to our house, we ran into a traffic jam on the main road so we turned down to go home a different way---through another neighborhood.  It was actually a jarring experience to go through this particular neighborhood.  It seemed almost surreal, as the area was scarred with remnants of many fires in the streets.  There was one fire burning brightly in the middle of the road, so many others smoldering, police everywhere.  You could see where roads had been blocked with stones and tree limbs.  Today in a neighborhood near us a policeman shot and killed a soldier.  Fifteen others  were injured.  The University of Burundi has been closed by the government and all the students have been put out in the streets.  None of the schools here are running as yet.  The government has shut down the independent radio station,  What's Ap, Twitter and Facebook.

Quote from a newspaper:  "Over the past days, Burundi has suffered a wave of killings, arbitrary arrests, detention, the closure of media outlets and the targeting of human rights defenders.  The ruling party openly condoned the violence.  An electoral process that lacks credibility, not to speak about one that triggers outright violence, is a huge setback for Burundi."

These are a couple of the fires burning as a protest against the current president's bid to run for office again instead of stepping down, as the constitution  requires.  It's difficult, if not dangerous, to attempt to get photos of the police, soldiers, riot scenes.

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