A demonstration against President Joseph Kabila has been banned in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after two policemen died in clashes with protesters.
Lambert Mende, a government spokesman, said on Monday that “two policemen were killed” earlier in the day in violence against the ruling party office in Kinshasa’s volatile Limete area.
A Catholic nun said one of the policemen had been “burnt alive”.
“We have now banned the demonstration,” Mende said, accusing the opposition of “targeted looting”.
“These are people who had prepared to create total disorder.”
Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing opposition supporters in Kinshasa, as they tried to march on parliament ahead of a planned mass demonstration to demand that Kabila quit power when his mandate runs out in December.
The demonstrators waved the blue-and-white flags of veteran Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, 83, whose movement had called for nationwide protests on Monday to demand that Kabila steps down on schedule.
Youths were blocking traffic on Lumumba Boulevard, a main artery, letting only journalists through.
A diplomatic source reported further clashes in “several places” on the road to the capital’s airport.
Kabila, who has ruled mineral-rich DRC since 2001, is banned under the constitution from running for a third term – but he has given no sign of intending to give up his job.
No elections have been announced and it would be practically impossible to organise a poll before the end of the year.
France urged Congolese authorities to ensure the “delay” in holding the next presidential election is “as short as possible”, and called on the government to respect “public liberties, especially the right to demonstrate peacefully”.
Rights group Amnesty International had on Thursday accused Congolese authorities of “systematic repression” of those seeking Kabila’s departure when his third term runs out on December 20.
The UN on Friday said at least 16 opposition activists had been detained in Kinshasa after meeting to discuss how to stop Kabila illegally prolonging his stay in power.
Copyright 2016 actualité africaine