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Hundreds of Burundians held demonstrations outside the Belgium embassy in the country’s capital Bujumbura in support of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government and the security forces that have been highly criticised overseas of late.
“What we need in our country is peace and we have come too show Belgium that we are not happy about what it has been doing since the unrest started,” said one of the protesters.
This comes as Burundi has called on Belgium to replace its current ambassador, Marc Gedopt.
According to sources, the replacement call is fuelled by the deteriorating trust between the ambassador and the Burundi government.
Belgium recently suspended its development aid to Burundi in the wake of public protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s move to seek a third term in the office in July.
Late April, the former colonial power suspended two million Euros it had promised to help fund the country’s May parliamentary elections.
Sanctions
Subsequently, the EU which is headquartered in Belgium’s capital Brussels, imposed sanctions on four prominent Burundians, three being government officials.
“The sanctions only targeted one ethnic group – the Hutu. EU sanctions are nothing but to disrupt the ongoing efforts to conduct the inter-Burundi dialogue,” read a statement from Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD.
The EU also pulled out its electoral observer mission in Burundi in May after mission chief David Martin called on authorities to respect freedom of assembly and of demonstration.
“Elections must be conducted in conditions that respect competition and pluralism unfortunately these are not the conditions that are prevailing now,” said Mr Martin at the time.
The EU had voiced support for the inter-Burundi dialogue aimed at the defusing the current political impasse.