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DR Congo bans planned anti-Kabila march by Catholics

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A planned demonstration against Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila organised by Catholics has been banned a day before it was to take place in the capital, Kinshasa’s governor said Saturday.

“The city does not have sufficient numbers of police officers to supervise this march,” Governor Andre Kimbuta said. “Therefore, I do not recognise the authorisation requested.”

About 150 Catholic churches had planned to protest in Kinshasa to call on the country to implement a compromise deal signed a year ago aimed at bringing about President Joseph Kabila’s belated departure and restore stability in the crisis-hit country.

In a letter to the governor, a secular coordinating committee said the agreement signed last New Year’s Eve is “the only viable road map” to achieve credible elections in DR Congo.

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In power since 2001 when he took over from his assassinated father Laurent Kabila, Kabila refused to step down at the end of his second and final term in office in December 2016.

He is banned by the constitution from running for a third term, but under the deal with the opposition can remain in office until the next elections, which had been due to take place by the end of 2017.

But the date has since been pushed back until December 23, 2018, further heightening tensions.

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A protest campaign led by the country’s opposition has been met with a police crackdown that has led to fatalities and arrests.

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