For nearly two weeks, protesters in Burundi have taken to the streets of the capital city Bujumbura to demonstrate against President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial plans to run for a third term in office. With elections more than a month away, the unrest shows no sign of slowing down, despite a brutal crackdown by police that has resulted in deaths, injuries, and high-profile arrests.
Since the protests kicked off in late April, dozens have been injured, with reports of at least 600 people detained by police, in addition to the dozen estimated killed so far. The United Nations refugee agency said 40,000 Burundians have fled across the border into neighboring countries like Rwanda, Tanzania, and Congo.
The situation escalated last week on April 30, when the government shut down the University of Burundi, sending hundreds of students to the US Embassy seeking refuge over security concerns. Despite a lull in activity over the weekend, protests kicked off again this week, as the country's constitutional court ruled that Nkurunziza could in fact seek a third term, despite the constitution's strict two-term limit.
Nkurunziza, a 51-year-old former rebel leader, was appointed to office by the country's parliament in 2005 as a transitional leader, after more than a decade of civil war. His supporters claim he is eligible to seek another term because he was not elected by a popular vote when he first took office.
Protests picked back up on Wednesday, with 16 reported injured, according to the Burundi Red Cross. Later in the evening, plain-clothes police officers arrested opposition leader Audifax Ndabitoreye from a hotel in Bujumbura, shortly after he attended a meeting with East African Community leaders attempting to resolve the situation.
VICE News was on the ground on Wednesday as demonstrations went into their 11th day, documenting burned out cars, stand-offs with police, and protesters camouflaged with leaves and goggles.
All photos by Alex Pritz.
Police retreat as protesters advance during a confrontation in Cibitoke, Bujumbura.