Former vice president and opposition leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, is scheduled to visit Kinshasa on Sunday, June 23. Bemba announced his return to the country in a social media post on Monday, June 3, stating that he will arrive at 10:00 (local time). Leaders of the opposition Progressive Lumumbist Movement (MLP) have called for supporters to rally in Kinshasa on June 23 to welcome Bemba back into the country. As of Tuesday, June 11, it is unclear how long Bemba will remain in the DRC. Mass demonstrations in support or in opposition to Bemba are possible throughout his visit. A heightened security presence and localized disruptions are anticipated around all rallies.
Jean-Pierre Bemba previously served as vice president and lost the 2006 presidential campaign to Joseph Kabila. In 2008, he was arrested and later convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and witness tampering. In June 2018, he was acquitted by the ICC and attempted to run in the 2018 presidential elections before his candidacy was rejected by the electoral commission.
Individuals in Kinshasa are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest, and anticipate a heightened security presence and transportation disruptions.
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