Burundians are voting Monday in parliamentary elections marked by an opposition boycott and violence as police battle anti-government protesters in the capital. In the Musaga neighborhood, which has seen violent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, few civilians were seen at the polls as mostly police and soldiers lined up to vote. The voting is taking place despite calls by the international community for a postponement until there is a peaceful environment for credible elections. The African Union said on Sunday that it would not observe the polls because the necessary conditions have not been met for free and fair elections. The European Union said Burundi’s decision to ignore U.N. and other international demands to delay voting further was a “serious matter” and could lead to withholding more aid.
Sounds of shooting and at least two blasts were heard overnight in the capital Bujumbura, the focus of clashes between demonstrators and police, Reuters reported. A witness said one blast in Bujumbura’s restive Musaga district on Monday morning.
Gunfire and at least one grenade explosion could be heard in some parts of Bujumbura as voting started at 6 a.m. Monday, said witnesses. There is heavy security across the city. Weeks of unrest that has killed dozens of people has remained largely confined to the capital with only sporadic demonstrations in other urban centers.
Full Article: Violence Mars Burundi Election | Al Jazeera America.