Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Media workers strongly condemn the raid of journalist Patient Ligodi, who called for the protest action of opposition leader Martin Fayulu.

Police struck a journalist and fired tear gas to spread a small crowd in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, during an opposition to alleged interference in the election.

About 20 protesters gathered on Wednesday in response to a call by opposition leader Martin Fayulu.

Police beat up Patient Ligodi, a journalist at Radio France International (RFI), and temporarily detained him while he was interviewing Fayulu.

“They threw me to the ground and started beating me,” Ligodi said in a video shared on social media.

Video shot by broadcaster France 24 shows Ligodi being dragged into a police car by several armed officers.

‘Aggressive and cruel’

RFI said in a statement that Ligodi was “thrown” out of the police car while moving, but that he was “out of danger”.

It strongly condemned the use of force and urged the Congolese authorities “to take all necessary measures against such action”.

Congolese journalists working at international stores also issued a statement saying Ligodi’s arrest was “aggressive and brutal”.

They said Ligodi was beaten, and that officers sat on him in their car and “completely suffocated” him. The statement also demanded that the officers, as well as their immediate superior, be “arrested and prosecuted”.

Police, who banned the procession from concerns about the coronaviruspandemia, said that Ligodi was a protester. Several protesters were reportedly detained.

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said in a statement that police had used excessive force and were launching an investigation.

“The perpetrators will be severely punished,” he said.

Protesters also took to the streets in the southeastern mining hub of Lubumbashi, the country’s second largest city, where police used tear gas to disperse it.

Congolese opposition leader Martin Fayulu and Jean-Pierre Bemba of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC) are attending a meeting before addressing supporters in Kinshasa [File: Kenny Katombe/Reuters]

Fayulu, wie claims he beat President Felix Tshisekedi during the 2018 election, said politicians were trying to influence the election commission.

‘I invite you all to take to the streets … not to tell any politicians [electoral commission], says’ no ‘to fraud in 2023,’ no ‘to election fraud,’ Fayulu, seen as a major challenger against Tshisekedi in a two-year presidential election, said in a video posted Monday.

In recent months, the eight religious groups tasked with nominating a candidate to lead the Electoral Commission during the December 2023 elections have not reached a consensus.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are ready to vote on a bill that would prevent citizens whose mother and father were not born in the Congo from becoming president, effectively barring Moise Katumbi, another likely contender in the 2023 polls.

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