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Amid Tensions, Bujumbura Goes to the Polls

On June 29, despite anti-government protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term, Burundians in Bujumbura braved the threat of harm to head to the polls.

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Police on patrol in Bujumbura's Nyakabiga neighborhood, June 23. The vote brought to an end the current climate of political instability that began in April, with President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term. Turnout in the opposition-heavy capital was low, as many opposition supporters chose to stay safely at home rather than risk the violence that many feared would break out, June 29. Andrew Green was on the ground in Burundi for FP. Read his piece, "Burundi Votes, and Violence Looms."

Will Boase
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A portrait of incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza looms over the crowded main hall of the central immigration center, June 26. Burundi held parliamentary and local elections, despite international calls -- from the African Union to the European Union -- to postpone them due to concerns that the contest would be unfair.

Will Boase
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Sunset over the commune of Nyakabiga, the site of an earlier protest against a politician allied with the ruling party, June 26.

Will Boase
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Police in the neighborhood of Chibitoke, where some of Bujumbura's worst protests took place during the weeks of unrest, line up at a polling station, June 29.

Will Boase
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Police in Bujumbura guard the site of a grenade blast in the center of the city, June 25.

Will Boase
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Staffers sit idle at the polling station at the National University of Burundi, located near the protest-wracked area of Nyakabiga, June 29.

Will Boase
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Citizens crowd into the passport office at the central immigration center to process visa and passport requests ahead of the Monday polls, hoping to escape violence by opposition and pro-government groups alike. "It’s better to leave and find out what will happen from [the] outside," said one man hoping to leave, June 26.

 

Will Boase
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Anti-Nkurunziza graffiti on a street in Bujumbura, June 29.

Will Boase
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A man waits for his travel documents at the central immigration center, June 26.

Will Boase
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A crowd of people gather at the central immigration center, June 26.

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Anxious voters outside a polling station wash their hands to remove indelible ink, June 29.

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Voters line up in the Bwiza area of Bujumbura, June 29.

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