Nationwide protests are planned for Saturday, June 3, throughout the country, including in the capital city of Bujumbura. While most events will begin in the morning and end by early afternoon, some related events may occur all day. Although the protests are expected to be peaceful, violence is possible. The demands of the protesters are not clear. Protesters in Bujumbura are expected to proceed towards Centre-Ville and may pause at various sites. This may cause traffic disruptions and/or road closures in the morning.
Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country's contested July 2015 elections. A number of political opposition parties, human rights organizations, and international NGOs have voiced concerns over the continuation of political violence against the opposition in recent months. Security forces and members of the youth wing of the ruling party Imbonerakure are accused of targeting opponents in violent attacks. While the country appears to be experiencing a period of relative calm (certainly in comparison to the violent outbreaks seen throughout 2015 and 2016) the situation remains worrisome, particularly in Bujumbura, where the chance of politically motivated outbreaks of violence remains.
Individuals present in Burundi should avoid public gatherings, especially those with no visible security presence, and are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance at all times. Be extremely vigilant in crowded places such as churches, markets, cafes, and bus stations. Flashpoints of violence should be avoided, including Bujumbura's Cibitoke, Jabe, Kamenge, Kanyosha, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, Ngagara, and Nyakabiga neighborhoods and Bujumbura Rural province.
More generally, individuals in Burundi - especially in Bujumbura - are advised to remain vigilant and to adhere to all instructions issued by the authorities. Travelers should avoid traveling by foot after nightfall, only keep small amounts of cash on hand, and if driving, park in a secured parking lot close to their destination. Drive with, doors locked, windows rolled up, and with all valuables hidden from sight. Keep your phone charged and with you at all times.
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