Police on Friday fanned out across the DR Congo capital Kinshasa and other main cities as thousands of opposition supporters marched seeking the withdrawal of electronic voting machines in a long-delayed election due at the end of December.
The regime of President Joseph Kabila in a rare gesture authorised the protest rallies but AFP correspondents said security forces were deployed in strength in Kinshasa, the key eastern cities of Goma and Bukavu and Bunia in the northeast.
Thousands marched in central Kinshasa shouting “We will fight to the death”, and “Voting machine equals cheating machine,” an AFP journalist said.
Former warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba and regional baron Moise Katumbi have been barred from standing for the top job in a move that raised howls of protest from their powerful blocs of supporters.
Bemba has asked people to rally in droves to protest against “the greatest electoral fraud ever with electronic machines that have not been tested anywhere in the world.”
Katumbi meanwhile in a video exhorted his supporters to “stage a massive march to say no to the electronic machines and no to corruption.”