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DR of Congo: UN investigates use of police force

DR of Congo: UN mission investigates use of police force against demonstrators

As historic elections set for 30 July in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) draw closer, the UN Organization Mission in the country (MONUC) said today it has opened an inquiry into yesterday’s violent dispersal of a demonstration in the capital Kinshasa, allegedly because the event’s organizers lacked proper authorization.

“The inquiry should establish whether the demonstrators constituted, by their number or their behaviour, a serious threat to public order,” MONUC said, explaining: “If that was not the case, the use of force by the CNP (Congolese National Police) was not justified.”

A recent Security Council mission to the country warned of political deterioration in the country on the eve of the elections, which will be the first in the vast country in 45 years and the largest and most complex electoral-assistance mission ever undertaken by the UN, despite the fact that preparations for a successful poll are on course.

MONUC noted that Congolese laws provide for the right to hold public demonstrations, and yesterday’s, having been duly announced, should not have been prohibited and repressed.

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