Over a dozen youth activists of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s pro-democracy movement Lucha were arrested on Thursday during a march against filth in the capital Kinshasa.
They were rounded up by the Kinshasa police into pick up trucks and sent to the Lufungula police station where they were detained, the group said.
According to the group on their Twitter page, 23 activists were arrested. They added that the Governor of Kinshasa who refused to meet them earlier visited the station and ordered their release on condition that they remove their branded Lucha T-shirts.
“André Kimbuta, orders the release of 23 comrades, on condition that they remove their Lucha T-shirt. Ridiculous! #KinPropre,” they tweeted.
The arrested activists were reportedly released and driven out of the police station in the afternoon after refusing to remove their Lucha branded T-shirts.
The activists staged the peaceful march through the streets of Kinshasa in the morning wearing branded T-shirts and carrying placards with inscriptions calling on the city authorities and residents to keep the city clean and free from dirt-related diseases.
One of their leaders, Bienvenu Matumo, on Wednesday told local news portal Actualite.cd that they notified the city authorities about the march on April 21, but received no response.
They decided to go ahead with the scheduled march which was supposed to end at the Governor’s office where they will deliver a petition on measures to be taken to help keep the city clean, he added.
On Wednesday, Lucha activists in the southeastern town of Lubumbashi staged a sit-in protest in front of the United Nations Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) office demanding that they intervene in the implementation of the fragile peace agreement signed by the government and opposition last year to hold elections this year.
They cited the UN Security Council Resolution 2348 as a mandate for MONUSCO to intervene.
Rdc: Resolution 2348= réelle protection de la population et élections 2017(sans Kabila). Sit-in Lucha à la Monusco à Lubumbashi pic.twitter.com/LdiG56IDX7— for children4 (@forchildren4) April 26, 2017
Lucha was created in 2012 in Goma, the capital of North Kivu, to advocate for democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Members of the group has suffered arrests and imprisonment as a result of its strained relationship with the Congolese authorities.
In December last year, dozens of Lucha activists were arrested for protesting against the stay in power of President Kabila after the official expiration of his term on December 20.
They were released after weeks in prison and several international condemnations and pressure.