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DR Congo activists arrested after anti-Kabila protest

A dozen activists who do not want President Joseph Kabila to remain in power in the Democratic Republic of Congo were arrested on Saturday after a sit-in at the African Union headquarters in Kinshasa, an AFP journalist said.

The arrests were the latest sign of rising tensions in the vast central African nation, where the opposition does not want Kabila’s grip on power to continue beyond the expiry of his term on Dec.20.

The arrests occurred despite repeated condemnations from human rights organisations in the fraught nation.

"Arrests were made at the central station and the Bon Marche neighbourhood," police spokesman Ezekiel Mwana Mputu said, referring to the detention of the activists.

Some 30 activists affiliated to the Filimbi movement, whose name means "whistle" in Swahili, chanted slogans calling on Kabila to step down.

Police officers confiscated their banners as they gathered in front of the seat of the AU, braving pouring rain.

"We came to remind the AU that it holds great responsibility in the constitutional coup d’etat that was decided by the (participants in the) dialogue, with its full agreement," protest organiser Carbone Beni Wa Beya said.

"Dec.19 will be the last day of President Kabila’s mandate, in accordance with the constitution," he added.

Shortly afterwards, the activist was detained.

The dissident was referring to an AU-facilitated "national dialogue," which last week reached a deal to keep Kabila in power until 2018 by postponing this year’s vote.

The opposition rejected the deal, with the main dissident coalition - "Rassemblement" (Gathering) - branding the talks a ploy by Kabila to stay in power beyond the end of his term.

Kabila first took office in 2001, and in 2006 a new constitutional provision limited the presidency to a two-term limit which expires in December.


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