Burundi: Deadly Police Response to Protests
Human Rights Watch
29 May 2015
Burundian police have used excessive force in a crackdown on protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s election bid for a third term, Human Rights Watch said today.
Witness accounts indicate that police have shot and beaten people, in some cases when they posed no apparent threat. The authorities have closed down a number of radio stations and threatened journalists, human rights activists, and medical personnel.
“The Burundian authorities should call a halt to the crackdown on peaceful opponents and critics,” said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “They should order the police to stop using excessive deadly force, investigate the deaths and beatings of protesters at the hands of police, and hold those responsible for excessive force to account.”
Restrictions on movements in the capital, and pervasive fear among the population, have made it difficult to confirm the exact number of victims. Based on interviews with medical personnel and other sources, Human Rights Watch believes that since demonstrations began on April 26, 2015, at least 27 people have been killed during the demonstrations or died from wounds inflicted during the demonstrations. Others have been killed in separate incidents. More than 300 people have been injured. It is likely that the overall number of dead is higher.
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