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DR Congo's Opposition Stages Violent March over Election
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Some 2,000 supporters of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)'s largest opposition party marched in the capital Kinshasa on Tuesday, protesting their candidate's absence from the upcoming election.
Last year, Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) called on his followers to boycott the voter registration.

Earlier this year, he changed his mind about running in the election after the registration deadline had passed, but then gave up his bid to enter the race after his demand to reopen the registration was rejected by the Independent Electoral Committee.

During Tuesday's march, protesters tore up candidates' posters and burned the Independent Electoral Committee's banderoles, chanting slogans like "no Tshisekedi, no elections".

They also attacked several passers-by who were wearing T-shirts printed with candidates' portraits. Some protesters dashed through the police security line, trying to smash cars bearing candidates' posters. They also hurled bricks and burning bottles at the police.

Police fired tear gas and sirens sounded in the city as officers arrived to contain the crowd.

The first round of the presidential election in the DRC is scheduled to begin on July 30, signaling the start of the first democratic election to be held in the country in more than 40 years.

(Xinhua News Agency July 19, 2006)

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