The Common Front for Congo (FCC) intends to hold a rally on Saturday, July 25, in Goma (North Kivu Province) in support of the controversial nomination of Ronsard Malonda as head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI). Past FCC protests in support of Malonda have drawn counter-protests from groups opposed to Malonda's nomination. The rally was initially planned for Thursday, July 23, when pro-Malonda demonstrations took place throughout the country, but the rally was postponed following concerns over possible clashes with opposition groups. The latest protests come following the lifting of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in the country on Tuesday, July 21, which limited public gatherings, including protests.
Further protests over Malonda's appointment are likely in the near term. A heightened security presence is to be expected at protests, and associated disruptions to transportation and business are likely.
Multiple protests and rallies have been staged by both the Lamuka opposition as well as the FCC in Kinshasa and numerous provincial towns and cities since Malonda 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, with fatalities reported at past demonstrations in Kinshasa.
Those in North Kivu Province 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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