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USA TO TSHISEKEDI: Respect The People’s Right To Protest – USA Secretary Of State

American authorities have weighed in on President Felix Tshisekedi following the brutalizing of opposition protesters during a march in Kinshasa on May 20, 2023 warning such action was against the tenets of democracy as they infringed on human rights.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken telephoned President Tshisekedi asking him to respect the right to protest after police used force against an opposition march.

The State Department said Wednesday Blinken “underscored the right of the Congolese people to protest peacefully to voice their concerns and aspirations.”

Blinken “emphasized the United States’ commitment to supporting free and fair elections in the DRC.”

On Saturday, security forces beat several people including at least one minor as the opposition tried to stage a march in the capital, Kinshasa. The police later said that demonstrators had ignored a pre-approved itinerary for the march.

DRC is due to hold a presidential election on December 20 in which Tshisekedi is seeking a second term.

Tshisekedi assumed office in 2019 in the first peaceful transition of power in the turbulent history of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country.

Blinken also voiced concern about renewed violence in the eastern DRC and again backed allegations that neighboring Rwanda is supporting the M23 rebels.

Blinken and Tshisekedi “discussed the importance and urgency of M23 withdrawing and disarming” in line with an agreement reached last year in Angola following African-brokered talks.

Today, the opposition is set to stage a sit in protest at the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) offices but the Tshisekedi regime has already sent a message that the procession should not go ahead as it was earmarked for neutral zone.

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