Roundup: DR Congo opposition protests rocked by ugly incidents

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Peaceful protests organized on Thursday by various opposition groupings in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), were rocked by ugly incidents, although they did not destabilize the population's normal activities.

The protests were aimed at denouncing a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court which allowed President Joseph Kabila to remain in power beyond 2016, until the presidential elections are organized.

In Kinshasa, the protest march began peacefully, before being dispersed by police who used tear gas, over what they claimed was "failure to respect the route authorized by authorities."

Opposition leaders said some of their supporters were injured.

Several businesses situated around the place where the protest march was set to begin were shut in the morning, but were later opened, hours after the dispersion of protesters by police.

Until late in the evening, police officers were still stationed in parts of the capital, where normalcy began returning slowly.

Protesters were equally dispersed in various parts of DR Congo. In North Kivu province in the east, protesters were dispersed because authorities did not allow other protests other than in Kinshasa.

Some sources said there were deaths of a few protesters in the east, but the country's security authorities did not confirm that information.

Elsewhere, security authorities said 35 police officers were seriously injured during the opposition protests in Kinshasa.

"We were hit by stones. Some of our vehicles were destroyed, and 35 of our officers were seriously injured," the spokesman for the national police Col. Mwana-Mputu said, a few hours after the dispersion of the protest by police.

Protesters were accused of trying to force their way through police barricades that prevented them from accessing the Government Hotel. Police were forced to use tear gas to disperse them.

Authorities in North Kivu confirmed that one person died and eight officers were injured, one of them critically, during protests in the province.

Tension has been mounting among DR Congo political class since the announcement by the head of the National Independent Electoral Commission that it was impossible to organize elections without revising the electoral register, an operation that may require at least 17 months.

In power since 2001, Kabila has been accused by the opposition of attempting to delay presidential elections that were supposed to be held at the end of this year, in order to remain in power beyond his constitutional timeline. Endit

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