Burundi: President pushes back election into June amid continued unrest

Burundi protesters clash with police
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    Burundi protesters clash with police


Burundi protesters clash with police 02:06

Story highlights

  • Spokesman: President delays parliamentary, local council elections until June 6
  • Burundi has been in turmoil since President announced he'd seek a third term
  • Burundi solider shot amid standoff with police in nation's capital

Bujumbura, Burundi (CNN)As protests and sporadic violence continue to roil his country, Burundi's President has pushed back the parliamentary and local council elections by one week, to June 6, a presidential spokesman said Wednesday.

President Pierre Nkurunziza is set to make a formal announcement about the delay later Wednesday at the African nation's State House. Presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe told CNN that Nkurunziza made the decision after getting sadvice from Burundi's Electoral Commission and East African leaders.
    The move comes amid continued turmoil in Burundi, much of it centered around Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term. Such a re-election bid is prohibited by the agreement that ended the nation's 1993-2003 civil war, yet the President is pushing forward nonetheless.
    Protesters determined to prevent his candidacy have demonstrated in the capital, Bujumbura, and police have met them with deadly force. Such clashes haven't let up, with police firing tear gas and shooting into the air again on Wednesday.
    The military has sometimes acted as a buffer between police and protesters. That happened again Wednesday in Bujumbura, with troops urging police not to fire live rounds on protesters.
    One of those police then fired, at which point police and the military engaged in a standoff. It ended with the military pushing police away from the scene.

    Decision comes days after coup attempt foiled

    The unrest began last month when Nkurunziza signaled his intention to extend his 10-year stay leading Burundi.
    Why 100,000 just fled their homes
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      Why 100,000 just fled their homes


    Why 100,000 just fled their homes 02:35
    The turmoil also helped spawn an attempted coup last week while the President was out of the country.
    Shortly after Nkurunziza returned Friday from a summit in Tanzania, authorities said they had arrested Army Gen. Godefroid Niyombare and others involved in the failed plot. They will be charged with mutiny in a military court, said Nyamitwe, the presidential spokesman.
    Nkurunziza on Friday tweeted congratulations to security forces on "their patriotism" and Burundians "for their patience," while also warning against other attempts to force him from power.
    Any such efforts, he said in a nationwide TV address, would "bring war, poverty and other atrocities we have seen in this country."