Protests over election delay

Demonstrators erect a barricade in protests over their exclusion from the presidential election in the DRC’s Beni. 28 December 2018
Demonstrators erect a barricade in protests over their exclusion from the presidential election in the DRC’s Beni. 28 December 2018
Image: REUTERS
Protesters ransacked an Ebola isolation centre in Beni and it is possible that patients fled
Deputy Director Aruna Abedi

Security forces in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fired live rounds and teargas to disperse demonstrators who burnt tyres and attacked Ebola centres on Thursday after a decision to exclude them from the presidential election.

The electoral commission (Ceni) announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling voting in Sunday’s election in the cities of Beni, Butembo and surrounding areas due to an ongoing Ebola outbreak and militia violence.

The areas are strongholds of opposition to outgoing President Joseph Kabila and the area’s politicians denounced the move as an effort to swing the vote in favour of his preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

“There was a group of demonstrators who wanted to enter the Ceni office ... to demand the withdrawal of the decision,” Beni resident Giscard Yere said.

“But the police officers and soldiers who were there fired to disperse the demonstrators.”

Protesters ransacked an Ebola isolation centre in Beni and it is possible that patients fled, Ebola response deputy director Aruna Abedi said.

They also attacked the office of the government agency coordinating the response in Beni before UN peacekeepers pushed them back, Abedi said.

“Protesters tried to force the door. They were chanting ... and demanding elections. They threw projectiles.”

Beni police commander Colonel Safari Kazingufu said his forces had been deployed to restore order.

X