The Lamuka opposition coalition, led by presidential runner-up Martin Fayulu, has announced plans to hold rallies in Butembo and Goma (both in North Kivu province) on February 15 and 18, respectively, to protest the results of presidential elections held at the end of December. In Butembo, city officials announced on February 14 that the rally, originally set to take place at the Rondpoint Mutsanga (or VGH) on Friday, February 15, would not be allowed to proceed due to a law barring all political meetings in public spaces outside of the official campaign period. As of February 14, it is unclear whether Lamuka supporters will proceed with the rally as planned despite the ban. Should the rally go ahead, a forceful response by security forces is likely. The rally in Goma on Monday, February 18, is scheduled to take place at Afia Stadium. Heightened security measures and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected around all related events.
Félix Tshisekedi was inaugurated as president on January 24 after the DRC held long-awaited general elections on December 30, 2018, to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila. There were numerous allegations of electoral fraud and voter intimidation and several people were killed in election-related violence. Opposition candidate Tshisekedi was declared winner of the presidential elections with 38.57 percent of the vote, followed by runner-up Martin Fayulu with 34.83 percent.
Individuals in North Kivu, particularly in Butembo and Goma, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political topics in public, and adhere to all instructions issued by their home government and local authorities.
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