Congolese police detain 85 opposition supporters

Congolese police arrested 85 opposition supporters on charges of trying to disrupt attempts by the government to launch a dialogue with the opposition after a government decision to postpone elections sparked widespread protests last month.

Those arrested had tried to "sabotage" talks between the government and some opposition parties that were launched Thursday in Kinshasa, police commander Celestin Kanyama said Friday.

The main opposition parties are boycotting the talks, brokered by the African Union and the United Nations, which brought together more than 200 delegates from parties supporting President Joseph Kabila, civil society organizations and smaller opposition parties.

The detainees had meanwhile gathered to march to the offices of the AU to lodge a complaint that the dialogue did not meet conditions set by the opposition, such as the release of political prisoners, opposition representative Martin Fayulu said.

Police dispersed them with tear gas.

Elections are due in November, but the electoral commission said they would be postponed, because the preparations could not be completed in time.

The opposition is concerned that Kabila, who is not eligible to seek a third term in office, is trying to extend his rule.

The postponement of the elections sparked rioting in August.

The talks that started in Kinshasa were suspended for a few days, reportedly to give mediators time to try to bring all the opposition parties on board.

Last update: Fri, 02/09/2016 - 16:34
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