Violent political protests in Burundi are expected to escalate following a decision by the constitutional court to approve a bid by the president to run for a third term. Nathan Frandino reports.
Despite a dramatic escalation in violence between protesters and police on the streets of Bujumbara this week, Burundi's constitutional court has cleared the way for President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term in office. The court ruled that his first term was a transitional phase after the civil war, saying it should not count since he wasn't elected. Protest groups are angry.... And at least one senator from the ruling party, Reverien Ndikuriyo, is calling for peace. (SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) BURUNDI RULING PARTY OFFICIAL, SENATOR REVERIEN NDIKURIYO, SAYING: "Act 96 of the constitution allows any presidential candidate to be elected for two terms by the electorate, so we are asking Burundians to respect the ruling by the constitutional court." The president's decision to run had sparked more than a week of sometimes deadly protests. His opponents say his plan to run violates the consitution, which limits presidents to just two terms. The government has offered to free protesters who've been arrested in the past week, but they remain defiant. (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) BURUNDI PROTESTER, PASCAL UWARUSHE, SAYING: "I will continue protesting until Pierre is removed from power because we are fed up in this country." With both sides deadlocked, observers fear an escalation of the violence that could plunge Burindi deeper into chaos.