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11:25, 23 June 2018 Saturday
Update: 17:24, 24 February 2018 Saturday

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DR Congo braces for new anti-Kabila rally
DR Congo braces for new anti-Kabila rally

Fifteen people were killed by security forces on New Year's Eve and January 21 in peaceful protests that sought to heap pressure on Kabila to step down, according to a toll by the UN and organisers. The government says two people died.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Efforts to force DR Congo President Joseph Kabila to quit face a key test on Sunday when protestors, backed by the Catholic church, return to the streets after two demonstrations that the authorities bloodily repressed.

Sunday's march in Kinshasa has been called by the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC), an organisation close to the church, an influential social and spiritual force in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kinshasa city authorities have "neither authorised nor banned" the planned march, according to officials who said they have not been contacted by the organisers.

Ahead of the protest, many Catholics in the capital attended mass on Friday, heeding a call by Pope Francis to pray for peace in their country and in war-battered South Sudan.

In the Sacred Heart church, Father Crispin Mbala urged Christians to join the non-violent march.

"The antidote to fear is commitment," the Jesuit priest told worshippers in a church frequented by several prominent public figures.

Some churchgoers told AFP Friday how they felt bolstered by Francis' action.

"When we march on Sunday, we won't be alone. The pope will be with us in spirit," said Gisele Mukadi from the poor, northern Matete district.

"He supports us. It's good to know for it motivates us more."

Civil servant Cesar Babwe, 62, found that Friday's mass was "spiritual rearmament for Sunday's assault. The pope is with us. The universal church is mobilised for peace in the DRC, which comes via democratic alternatives."



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