World Bulletin / News Desk
Burundi's opposition parties and activists on Saturday overlooked a request by the government to suspend for 48 hours their protests against the reelection for a third term of incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza.
"Approving a suspension of our protests equals approving our death," Charles Nditije, the head of the Union for National Progress Party, told Anadolu Agency.
"We will resume our protests as of Sunday because our constitutional rights are threatened," he added.
Earlier on Saturday, Defense Minister Pontien Gaciyubwenge called on the opposition to suspend its street protests.
"The National Security Council calls on protest organizers in Bujumbura to quickly put an end to their rebellious actions," Gaciyubwenge said in an interview with Anadolu Agency.
"Civil servants and school students have to go back to their work and classrooms as of Monday," he added.
He said security forces had 48 hours after which they would use what he described as "all legal methods" to free roads and streets of the people who blocked them.
The head of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy Pascal Nyabenda called on the government to open investigation to know the people standing behind offering the necessary funding for the protests.
He said some people must have been behind offering the funds necessary for the organization of protests.
Burundi has been rocked by protest since late April, when the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy named Nkurunziza – in power since 2005 – its candidate for June presidential polls.
At least 20 people, including two policemen, have been killed – and more than 100 injured – since the protests first erupted.
According to Burundi's constitution, the president can serve only two terms in office.
But in late March, in a move that ignited controversy across the central African nation, Nkurunziza proposed a constitutional amendment that would – if ratified – allow him to run for a third presidential term.
Despite parliament's rejection of the proposal, the bill, according to the country's laws, can be brought before the assembly for a second vote.
Burundi's constitutional court, meanwhile, has ruled in favor of Nkurunziza's controversial reelection bid.
Critics say a third-term run by Nkurunziza would violate the terms of the 2000 Arusha agreement, which – along with ending a Hutu-Tutsi civil war – stipulated that Burundi's president should serve no more than two terms in office.Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2015, 18:22