US slams tactics by Burundi police

Comment on this story
IOL pic mar5 blue white police tape .

Washington - The United States on Tuesday condemned what it called the use of heavy-handed tactics by Burundi's police to break up opposition party meetings at the weekend in which more than a dozen people were injured and several were arrested.

The State Department said police tried to break up a peaceful meeting by the women's wing of the United for National Progress party as they tried to mark International Women's Day. Separately, police tried to prevent an opposition meeting at the headquarters of the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy political party (MSD), the State Department added.

“The United States is deeply concerned by the Government of Burundi's actions to prevent or break up two separate meetings of opposition political parties on March 8,” the State Department said in a statement.

It also criticised the MSD for taking two police officers hostage during the protests, saying that and the police actions were “inconsistent with Burundi's notable progress toward creating a peaceful democracy”.

“We stress the importance of all parties in Burundi respecting the democratic process so that Burundi can hold free, fair, and peaceful elections in 2015,” the State Department said.

Political wrangling in Burundi, which emerged from a 12-year civil war in 2005, has raised concerns of more unrest in a region already troubled by violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Despite relative calm in recent years, rights groups have reported scores of political killings, intimidation of the opposition and a crackdown on media since President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election in 2010. - Reuters

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines