UN blasts DR Congo arrests after strike call
KINSHASA, DR Congo – The United Nations condemned on Wednesday, August 24, the arrests of 32 people in DR Congo after a nationwide opposition-led strike call gripped parts of the country, calling some of them "arbitrary."
The arrests happened Tuesday in the capital Kinshasa and in Mbuji-Mayi in the centre of the country, said Jose Maria Aranaz, who heads the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO).
Eleven of those arrested by police and the national intelligence agency (ANR) remain in custody in Mbuji-Mayi, while the rest were subsequently released, he added.
Some of those arrested were accused of "acting against a peaceful protest" while others were "arbitrary arrests", said Aranaz.
Business slowed in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Tuesday after the opposition called for a national strike to demand President Joseph Kabila end his 15-year rule when his mandate runs out in December.
The call for a nationwide shutdown was issued by new opposition coalition, "Rassemblement" ("Gathering"), headed by veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, to protest against a delay in this year's scheduled presidential election.
The country's highest court earlier this year ruled that Kabila could stay in office beyond December if no election were held. – Rappler.com