Opposition activists gathered in the Pont Matete area of Kinshasa on the morning of Monday, July 13, for planned demonstrations against the appointment of Ronsard Malaonda as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). Protesters are expected to march towards the Palais du Peuple on Boulevard Triomphal. However, security forces have reportedly established a cordon around the area and other government buildings in order to prevent demonstrators from reaching the site. Similar protests are also expected to be held in other towns and cities around the country, including Lubumbashi, Isiro, and Kananga despite a ban on public gatherings due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Clashes between demonstrators and security forces are likely in the near term as police move to block and disperse the protests.
Multiple protests have been staged by the Lamuka opposition in Kinshasa and numerous provincial towns and cities since Malaonda was endorsed by the government as the new head of the CENI on July 2. Many of these demonstrations have been aggressively dispersed by security forces citing the current ban on public gatherings, with at least three people being killed during clashes in Kinshasa on Thursday, July 9.
Those in the DRC are advised to monitor developments, anticipate disruptions in the vicinity of demonstrations, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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