BUJUMBURA, Burundi, May 15 – Protesters opposed to Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza took the streets of the capital Friday following the failure of a coup to oust him, an AFP reporter said.
Burning barricades were thrown up in a part of Bujumbura and police were deployed, with shots fired in order to break up the renewed demonstrations.
Several weeks of deadly street protests ceased on Wednesday when a top general launched an attempted coup to oust Nkurunziza who has been under fire over his controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive term in office.
The putsch attempt ended in failure on Friday as coup leaders admitted defeat and were arrested or forced to go on the run from loyalist troops.
Civil society activists, however, called for a resumption of demonstrations.
“Out of principle we are against coups, but we saw that the Burundian people were broadly welcoming of the coup attempt, which shows that Burundi needs change,” anti-Nkurunziza activist Vital Nshimirimana told AFP.
Witnesses said tensions were high in the area where protests could be seen resuming.
“Know that anyone putting up barricades will be considered as part of the coup,” a police officer was heard shouting at one group of demonstrators.
Opposition and rights groups insist that it is unconstitutional for Nkurunziza, who has been in office since 2005, to run for more than two terms. The president, however, argues his first term did not count as he was elected by parliament, not directly by the people.