13 reportedly killed in anti-regime protest in DR Congo

The demonstrators, protesting against a new election law recently endorsed by the government of President Joseph Kabila, shouted slogans against the latter and called for his departure

13 reportedly killed in anti-regime protest in DR Congo

World Bulletin/News Desk

At least 13 people were killed Monday in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), during a protest against an electoral draft ratified by the National Assembly (lower house of parliament) on Saturday, according to opposition platform "Save the DRC."

"We counted 13 dead at the general hospital of Mama Yemo in Kinshasa," the platform's coordinator Fayulu Martin told The Anadolu Agency.

Congolese authorities have yet to comment on the report.

Following the deaths, the Senate (the upper house of parliament) postponed a planned session to discuss the bill until Tuesday, Senator Jacques Ndjoli of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) opposition party told AA.

"As soon as we learned that there had been deaths, we were no longer able to continue the session, so we asked the Senate speaker to postpone the session and he agreed," Ndjoli said.

Earlier Monday, DRC police used teargas and fired live rounds in the air to prevent hundreds of people from reaching the headquarters of the parliament in Kinshasa.

The demonstrators, protesting against a new election law recently endorsed by the government of President Joseph Kabila, shouted slogans against the latter and called for his departure.

More than a thousand policemen, including members of the republican guards, were deployed across Kinshasa ahead of the protest, a police source said.

Policemen fired teargas before they fired live rounds into the air to scare the demonstrators away, but the demonstrators pelted the policemen with stones, according to eyewitnesses.

Policemen also prevented protesters and journalists from entering the Education Street, where the offices of some of Congo's opposition parties are located.

Most of the demonstrators were male youths who chanted in criticism of the Congolese president.

Government spokesman Lambert Mende told AA that the demonstrators were dispersed "to safeguard the sanctity of the parliament."

"The demonstrators had tried to come to the headquarters of the parliament, even as the law prohibits this," he added.

The Congolese opposition and civil society fear that the bill – which was approved by the National Assembly on Saturday in a session that was boycotted by opposition MPs – would be a prelude for Kabila to seek a third term in office, even as his country's constitution allows him to spend two terms only.

www.aa.com.tr/en

Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2015, 23:45
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