Kinshasa – Eight people including a reporter were arrested on Wednesday as Kinshasa police cracked down on a banned opposition protest.
Police in two jeeps quickly dispersed around 20 people trying to stage a march in the working-class district of Ndjili in the east of the capital. They brandished a banner calling for the “depoliticisation” of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s election commission.
The selection process for commission members has been at a standstill for several weeks.
Police took up positions stretching several kilometres along the road leading from the parliament building in the north of the city to the working-class district of Tshangu.
Police made eight arrests and witnesses reported that officers roughed up some protesters, including the journalist.
Photos and videos posted on social media showed the violent arrest of Patient Ligodi, a Congolese reporter for Radio France Internationale (RFI).
Congolese journalists working for international outlets issued a statement saying Ligodi’s arrest had been “aggressive and savage”.
They said Ligodi was beaten, and that officers sat on him in their car, “totally smothering him”.
The statement demanded that the officers be “arrested and prosecuted” as well as their direct superior.
RFI said Ligodi had been “ejected” from the police car while it was moving, but that he was “out of danger”.
The French broadcaster called on the Congolese authorities “to take all necessary measures against such actions”.
The city had banned Wednesday’s protests but gave the go-ahead for a demonstration on Friday.
Protesters also took the streets in the southeastern mining hub of Lubumbashi, the country’s second largest city, where police used tear gas to disperse them.
President Felix Tshisekedi, a former opposition stalwart, came to power in January 2019, succeeding Joseph Kabila.
The next presidential election is set for December 2023.
Picture: Getty Images