About a thousand protesters have gathered at the French embassy in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura demonstrating against the United Nation Security Council’s decision on Friday to deploy 228 police force to the country.
At the request of France and voted by 11 of the council members with four abstaining, the resolution authorises the gradual deployment of the troops for an initial period of one year to restore calm and the respect of human rights.
Pro-government protesters at the embassy of France carried placards rejecting the resolution while calling on the international body to respect their sovereignty.
The Mayor of Bujumbura, Freddy Mbonimpa, as well as many government functionaries were participants in the demonstration which was characterized by anti-French sentiments, AFP reports.
“The Burundian people say no to the 2303 UN resolution”; “France needs peacekeepers for security. More than 100 people killed in Nice”; “France wants to send gunmen to Burundi to commit genocide as in Rwanda in 1994”, the placards captured by the media read.
“There is a profound misunderstanding of the role of France at the Security Council. But it has no connection with bilateral relations. This resolution is good for Burundi,” the ambassador of France to Burundi, Gerrit van Rossumsaid told AFP after he joined the protesters to defend France’s position.
The Burundian government has agreed to the deployment of 100 observers and 100 military experts by the African Union, but only 32 observers and 14 experts are actually on the ground.
During the UN Security Council negotiations on the resolution, China, Russia, Angola, Egypt and Venezuela wanted the approval of the Burundian government before the deployment.
The resolution urged the Burundian government to accept and cooperate fully with the UN police force as well as to ensure the full deployment of AU observers and experts.
It also urged the government to hold active and constructive dialogue with all opposition groups after its suspension.
Photo Credit: iBurundi