Burundi orders bars to close early

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Bar-goers in Burundi are upset at the government’s order for public drinking spots in certain cities to close by 21:00 local time (19:00 GMT).

Until now there had been no restrictions on opening times.

The order is being implemented in the capital, Gitega, the main city of Bujumbura, and in the northern Muyinga province. The mayor of Bujumbura has said the measure is aimed at ensuring that people drink less, but many people believe it is a security measure.

In recent weeks, people have been shot dead in bars in Bujumbura.

On weekdays, bars have been ordered to operate between 17:00 and 21:00 and from 13:00 to 21:00 on weekends.

“It’s sad to close the bars so early, it’s just too sad to hear,” one Gitega resident told the BBC.

“Many people are going to be jailed [for not respecting the order],” a 28-year-old woman in the capital said.

A man from Bujumbura told the BBC that bar patrons, as well as owners, were sad because the new closing time was “the best time for people to enjoy themselves on weekends after a long week of work”.

“Many people go to bars for different reasons, mostly good personal reasons. We believe in our leaders’ decisions, but this doesn’t please us – to be denied taking what you want when you want it,” he added.

One man in his mid 30s, however, told the BBC that he backed the measure because he thought it would improve security in the capital.

BBC

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