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DRC mediation efforts stumble, police disperse opposition protesters

DRC mediation efforts stumble, police disperse opposition protesters

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Congolese police fired bullets into the air and launched tear gas canisters to try to disperse hundreds of opposition supporters in Kinshasa on Tuesday, after talks between the opposition and President Joseph Kabila’s government fizzled out.

The supporters came onto the streets of Kinshasa after the Catholic bishops announced they would no longer host the talks between Kabila’s allies and the opposition due to unwillingness to seek compromise.

“We think that there’s no longer anything to do,” Donatien Nshole, secretary general of CENCO, the bishops’ organization, told Reuters. “We have given all our time and all our energy.”

Reacting to CENCO’s decision, the opposition vowed to hold a nationwide protest on April 10.

“I call on the Congolese people to mobilize themselves for a big peaceful march throughout the republic and the diaspora (abroad),” the UDPS, the main party in the opposition coalition, said in a statement. “I call on our millions of supporters…to resist the dictatorship taking root in our…country.”

However, in a statement read on state-run television, Kabila’s office said that talks would continue and that “the current impasse must in no way signify a definitive rupture of the dialogue”.

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