Officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say at least a dozen people have been killed in protests over a proposed law that the opposition fears will prolong President Joseph Kabila’s time in power.
Lambert Mende, the government spokesman, said on Thursday that 12 people had died in three days of unrest and pillaging that began on Monday.
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But a coalition of human rights groups says 42 people were killed by security forces firing on protesters.
An uneasy calm returned to the capital Kinshasa on Thursday, but four more people died during demonstrations in the country’s east.
Lawmakers in Congo’s lower house have passed a measure requiring a census before presidential elections next year.
Critics say that would in effect delay elections. The Senate adjourned on Thursday before its own vote.
Kabila, in power since 2001, is barred from running again.