BUJUMBURA, Burundi: Authorities in Burundi on Monday shut down the central African nation’s main independent radio station following an upsurge in protests over a bid by the president to stay in office for a third term, the station said.
“The radio is off the air after a decision by the authorities,” said Gilbert Niyonkuru, head of programming at the influential African Public Radio (RPA), which has for months been reporting on government intimidation of opponents.
Broadcasts by the station’s studios outside of the capital Burundi have also been halted, with station officials saying they had been accused of “complicity and participation in an insurrectional movement.”
The closure of the popular station came as opposition activists held a second day of protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempt to be re-elected to office.
Nkurunziza has been in power for two terms since 2005, and opposition figures and rights groups say his attempt to stay put goes against Burundi’s constitution as well as the Arusha peace deal that brought an end in 2006 to a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Monday’s demonstrations came the day after at least two protesters were shot dead during clashes with police in the capital Bujumbura, and after two further deaths were reported overnight in alleged attacks by ruling party militia.