General strike pressing Kabila to step down paralyses Congo cities

Congo's main cities came to a partial standstill Wednesday as a general strike called by the opposition pressed President Joseph Kabila to step down in December.

Witnesses reported little commercial activity and public transport in the capital Kinshasa, where many schools remained closed.

In Goma in the east, thousands of protesters marched to the provincial governor's office. They also erected burning barricades until police dispersed them with tear gas.

In the town of Beni, protesters carried placards accusing the UN and the international community of not addressing the situation in Congo.

Kabila's mandate ends in December, and the constitution does not allow him to seek a third term. The government postponed the November elections over alleged logistical delays, sparking violent protests in which dozens of people have been killed.

The ruling coalition and some smaller opposition parties on Tuesday set April 29, 2018, as the new election date.

Martin Fayulu, leader of the opposition Commitment for Citizenship and Development party, said the main opposition had boycotted the dialogue with the government.

"We have told Kabila that his tricks to cling to power have been exposed," Fayulu told dpa.

"We cannot wait for 2018. Everything has the right time, and today, the right time for Kabila to go is now, because he promised to respect the constitution," a protester on a motorcycle said in Goma.

Last update: Wed, 19/10/2016 - 19:14
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