Congo police arrest dozens at banned protest rallies

AP , Tuesday 11 Apr 2017

Peacekeepers serving in MONUSCO drive past burning tyres as they patrol during mass protests against President Joseph Kabila in the streets of the DRC's capital Kinshasa on Monday (Photo:Reuters)

-Police detained several dozen people accused of violating a ban Monday on protests against DR Congo President Joseph Kabila, police sources said Tuesday.
"Police have arrested and detained 34 people in Kinshasa," said national police spokesman Pierre-Rombaut Mwanamputu.

"Some wanted to breach the ban on a march, the others were preparing acts of vandalism. Their fate will be known during the day."

Mwanamputu said he had no details of arrests in other parts of the vast country, where there is strong anger to Kabila remaining in office beyond the end of his mandate in December 2016.

The call by Democratic Republic of Congo's main opposition party for nationwide protests Monday appeared to have been ignored in Kinshasa, however, where people stayed home fearing violence after the authorities banned the rallies.

In the country's second city, Lubumbashi, Hubert Tshisuaka, the head of a local human rights group, told AFP he had no news of six people in a group of 24 detained by police on Monday.

In northeastern Goma, six people who tried to barricade roads were briefly detained and then freed, a local police source said.

The opposition is seeking to pressure Kabila, who has ruled since 2001, to implement a power-sharing deal brokered by the Catholic church to avert a crisis, by holding elections late this year.

Under the accord, Kabila agreed to share power ahead of the polls with a prime minister from the opposition.

But last week he named as premier a dissident member of the opposition, Bruno Tshibala. The opposition has rejected this choice as being contrary to the letter and the spirit of the power-sharing accord.

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