Burundi police block demo

BUJUMBURA — Burundi’s police on Friday blocked a demonstration organised to demand justice for an assassinated anti-corruption activist and briefly detained two protesters.

The demonstration had been organised to commemorate the second anniversary of the murder of Ernest Manirumva, a former deputy of the central African country’s Olucome corruption watchdog who was stabbed to death in 2009.

“We don’t understand why the regime is preventing us from marching to demand justice for the third time in a year. It is a right enshrined in the constitution,” Pacifique Nininahazwe, who heads a civil society platform of some 150 associations and non-governmental organisations, told AFP.

“We want justice to be done, because two years after his death, the trial hasn’t produced anything,” he said in Bujumbura, where a small group of demonstrators were barred from holding their march.

Manirumva was the deputy head of Olucome, the Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory, which has uncovered a number of graft scandals involving high-ranking government officials in recent years.

Burundian police had deployed hundreds of anti-riot forces around Independence Square and the high court, an AFP correspondent reported.

Two leading activists, including current Olucome boss Gabriel Rufyiri, were detained after the blocked demonstration, which police described as “illegal and banned”.

Their lawyer said they were held for four hours and released.

The police also confiscated placards that read “Who is the judiciary afraid of?” or “No to impunity”.

Manirumva’s supporters and family have argued that the 16 people prosecuted in the trial were scapegoats.


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