Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are holding ten priests and over 200 protesters who defied a protest ban over the weekend to demand that President Kabila steps down.
What was dubbed a peace march turned violent as police fired live bullets and tear gas to disperse the church organized protest. Reports indicate that six people died in the ensuing chaos.
“We have registered the case of 10 priests who have been arrested, including Father Dieudonne Mukinayi of Saint Christophe Parish in Binza Ozone. He is detained in a residence of a government official alongside eight parishioners,” Georges Kapiamba of a local NGO Congolese Association for Justice told the UN-sponsored Radio Okapi.
According to information we have, they were or continue to be mistreated. Their clothes have been torn. Two nuns are missing, 257 demonstrators have been arrested and are being held in various cells in Kinshasa.
“According to information we have, they were or continue to be mistreated. Their clothes have been torn. Two nuns are missing, 257 demonstrators have been arrested and are being held in various cells in Kinshasa,” Kapiamba added.
A committee of the powerful Catholic Church had called for nationwide protests to force Kabila to respect the terms of a December 31, 2016; mediation that mandates Kabila to step down at the end of his tenure – last year.
Elections could not hold for lack of security, funds and an incomplete voters roll, there is pressure on Kabila to organize the polls this year but it is not known if he will announce his candidature – contrary to the current law which bars him from contesting.