Clashes erupt at rally against DRC president Kabila

Up to 3,000 people had gathered in capital Kinshasa to oppose any bid by president for unconstitutional third term.

Violent clashes have broke out in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), after an opposition rally was attacked by unidentified youths hurling stones, sparking a lynching attempt and a police crackdown.

Up to 3,000 people had gathered in a southern area of the DR Congo capital to oppose any bid by President Joseph Kabila to seek a third term in elections due at the end of next year, said a journalist from the AFP news agency at the scene.

Kabila, in office since 2001, is constitutionally ineligible for next year’s poll as he nears the end of a second elected term, but his foes accuse him of wanting to stay in power.

The AFP journalist said Tuesday’s rally, called by an opposition umbrella grouping, was attacked by youths who pelted stones and brandished sticks.

This in turn caused a backlash with young participants at the rally violently beating up one of the presumed attackers for several minutes as he lay helpless on the ground.

Baton-wielding police then intervened, picking up his badly battered body, and dispersed the rally.

Kabila launched talks in June but only the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) agreed to attend, with two other sizeable groups boycotting them.

UDPS president Etienne Tshisekedi, 82, issued a statement late on Sunday saying the talks had failed and that he had called on his party’s delegates “to withdraw immediately from the negotiating table”.

Tshisekedi, who was defeated by Kabila in a 2011 election which observers said was marred by fraud, urged all political and social forces to fight for the organisation of a “credible” electoral process in a peaceful and consensual manner with a view to a “peaceful transfer of power”.

Source: AFP