Thousands of supporters of Burundi's president are protesting against the African Union's plan to deploy 5,000 peacekeepers to quell the country's escalating unrest.

The demonstration in Bujumbura Saturday was led by Vice President Gaston Sindimwo who insisted Burundi's army is capable of halting violence and protecting all Burundians.

Burundi has been rocked by turmoil since April when it was announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term. Nkurunziza won reelection in July but the violence has since escalated.

Earlier this month 87 people died when three military installations were attacked by rebels who said this week they are fighting to topple Nkurunziza.

At least 400 people have died since April and some 220,000 have fled to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.