Investigate police crackdown on protests – Amnesty International to DRC

Accra, Amnesty International Friday urged the Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to investigate what it describes as the heavy-handed police crackdown on yesterday’s protests in which at least one man was shot dead and dozens more injured.

Police also arbitrarily arrested more than 200 protesters in cities across the country, a statement issued by the leading international human rights body said.

While many were released later in the day, at least 100 remain in detention, including 45 in Goma and 12 in the capital Kinshasa, it said.

This wanton disregard for protesters’ lives and the unlawful use of force cannot be tolerated. The use of firearms against unarmed protesters contravenes DRC’s obligations under international law, the statement said, quoting Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

The DRC must promptly launch an effective and independent investigation into the killing and injuries and bring all those responsible to justice. The ongoing pattern of repression against peaceful protesters and its associated impunity must stop.

Amnesty International also called for the all those protesters solely detained for peacefully exercising their rights to be immediately and unconditionally released.

According to the statement, protests took place in multiple cities across the Democratic Republic of Congo on 30 November, calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down before the end of the year.

Presidential elections were originally set to take place at the end of President Kabila’s second term in November 2016, but were postponed and are now scheduled for 23 September 2018.

Source: Ghana News Agency