About 4 000 stage poll protest in DRC

About 4 000 stage poll protest in DRC

KINSHASA – Nearly 4 000 protesters marched on Monday in the streets of Congo’s capital, throwing stones at cars and buildings as they called for a greater role in the organisation of next month’s landmark elections.

The demonstration occurred as Congo leaders met with members of the United Nations Security Council for a final consultation before the vote, scheduled for July 30. The presidential election, Congo’s first in about 40 years, is meant to be a step toward peace for the violence-plagued central African nation.Police fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd pouring down Kinshasa’s main route, leaving behind broken shop windows and damaged cars.Many of the protesters were supporters of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi who said they have been unfairly excluded from the electoral process.Tshisekedi – who originally planned to boycott the vote – has said he will not run unless registration is reopened so that those who didn’t sign up under his boycott can participate.”We want to remind the Security Council of its November 5 promise …to do everything to have truly inclusive elections in the country,” said Denis Lupeto, an official in Tshisekedi’s party.The group has held several protests demanding a reopening of vote registration – a move election officials say would delay a process that already has been pushed back several times.Lupeto said his party also wants representation in the electoral commission that is organising the vote and for the government to open its decision to push elections back to July up for negotiation with political leaders.Congo’s elections were meant to be held in 2005, but after repeated delays now are scheduled a month after the June 30 expiration of a mandate of a transitional government.Some opposition members have said the transitional government, which took over after the 1998-2002 civil war, will be illegitimate after June 30.- Nampa-APThe presidential election, Congo’s first in about 40 years, is meant to be a step toward peace for the violence-plagued central African nation.Police fired shots in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd pouring down Kinshasa’s main route, leaving behind broken shop windows and damaged cars.Many of the protesters were supporters of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi who said they have been unfairly excluded from the electoral process.Tshisekedi – who originally planned to boycott the vote – has said he will not run unless registration is reopened so that those who didn’t sign up under his boycott can participate.”We want to remind the Security Council of its November 5 promise …to do everything to have truly inclusive elections in the country,” said Denis Lupeto, an official in Tshisekedi’s party.The group has held several protests demanding a reopening of vote registration – a move election officials say would delay a process that already has been pushed back several times.Lupeto said his party also wants representation in the electoral commission that is organising the vote and for the government to open its decision to push elections back to July up for negotiation with political leaders.Congo’s elections were meant to be held in 2005, but after repeated delays now are scheduled a month after the June 30 expiration of a mandate of a transitional government.Some opposition members have said the transitional government, which took over after the 1998-2002 civil war, will be illegitimate after June 30.- Nampa-AP

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