Police in Congo Ban Rallies on Last Day of Campaigning

Posted November 26th, 2011 at 2:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Police in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo banned political rallies Saturday after at least one person was killed on the last day of campaigning before Monday's national elections.

President Joseph Kabila canceled his rally. His top rival, opposition challenger Etienne Tshisekedi, vowed to proceed with his rally at a stadium in Kinshasa but it is unclear if the rally took place.

Riot police with armored personnel carriers and water cannon prevented Tshisekedi from leaving an airport in the capital and blocked his supporters from entering the facility.

Earlier Saturday, police used force to disperse hundreds of protesters in Kinshasa. Media reports say at least one person was killed.

In previous campaigning, supporters of the two politicians have clashed in the capital and in the country's second-largest city, Lubumbashi.

Ten candidates are challenging President Kabila in Monday's presidential election, and more than 18,000 people are running for 500 seats in the national assembly.

Political analysts in Congo believe Mr. Kabila will win re-election, partly because much of the opposition vote will be split among three candidates.

The United States, European Union and United Nations have expressed concern about election-related unrest and violence, and the International Criminal Court has said it will prosecute any perpetrators of election-related crimes.

Mr. Kabila has been president since 2001, when he took office after the death of his father, Laurent. He won the country's last presidential election in 2006.