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Burundi Protests Continue as US, UN Urge Peace Talks

  • VOA News

Police and army clear barricades set by opposition demonstrators in the Cibitoke district of the capital Bujumbura, in Burundi, May 25, 2015.

Police and army clear barricades set by opposition demonstrators in the Cibitoke district of the capital Bujumbura, in Burundi, May 25, 2015.

Police and anti-government protesters clashed again Monday in Burundi as the United States and United Nations urged all parties to get back to peace talks.

The opposition quit the talks after the leader of the UPD party, Zedi Feruzi, and his bodyguard were killed in a shooting in Bujumbura on Saturday.

The United States condemned the killings and urged Burundian authorities to arrest the perpetrators and protect other politicians.

At least one demonstrator in the capital, Bujumbura, was wounded Monday when police opened fire. The French news agency reports police also shot dead a protester in the town of Muyange, 60 kilometers to the south.

The Burundi crisis began last month when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he will run for a controversial third term.

The United States has also called for authorities to lift a ban on further protests, allow independent radio stations to resume broadcasting and stop using the term "insurgents" to refer to peaceful protesters.

An opposition leader, Frederick Bamvuginyumvira, said Sunday that his party can no longer hold talks with the government.

"It is impossible," he said. "We have decided to leave the negotiations because they are of no use. ... The most urgent thing is to cease the killings we are seeing and the organized assassination of opposition leaders."

The spokesman of another opposition party said he cannot guarantee that anti-government protesters will stay peaceful.

More than 20 people have died in clashes between police and protesters since late last month and more than 100,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries.

The president's critics say a third term would violate the constitution. His supporters say he is eligible to run because parliament, not voters, elected him to his first term in 2005.

Burundi has resisted calls to delay the presidential election, now set for June 26.

Two weeks ago, the government put down a coup attempt by army general Godefroid Niyombare, who remains at large.

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