Posted at 02:55 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Congolese protesters say election is fraudulent, clash with police

As the Democratic Republic of Congo counted votes Tuesday after millions of people went to the polls for its second democratic election, demonstrations spread from Johannesburg to Western cities, where Congolese protesters said the election at home was fraudulent. Several of the protests ended in clashes with police.


A Congolese man is arrested by the police after a group of protesters from the Democratic Republic of Congo marched to the African National Congress (ANC) headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday. (REUTERS)
The election has so far been riddled by late printing and delivery of ballots, disorganized counting centers and frequent power cuts. Those demonstrating say South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma was involved in the election outcome.

The violence began in South Africa, where police shot rubber bullets on Monday at a group of protesters gathered outside the African National Congress's Luthuli House in Johannesburg, and arrested five who tried to storm the embassy in Pretoria. By Tuesday, the protests had spread to London, where hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police outside the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron, and to Toronto, where more than 150 protesters gathered at the U.S. Consulate were surrounded by police.

Protesters carried signs that read “Free Congo,” “Respect the will of Congolese people” and “Kabila out!”

Joseph Kabila, the sitting president who is a former rebel commander, currently has an almost-unbeatable lead of 46 percent. His elite guard is accused of gunning down at least 14 opposition supporters, according to the AP.

Human Rights Watch estimates that election violence has already left at least 18 people dead and more than 100 wounded, with much of the violence perpetrated by troops loyal to Kabila.

Al-Jazeera reported that the Congolese government said it would use the army in the event of any “poll chaos.”

At the International Criminal Court, prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo issued a warning to Kabila, using former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo — who appeared this week for crimes committed by his forces after he lost last year’s election — as an example.

“Leaders from all sides must understand this: My Office is watching the situation in the DRC very closely,” Moreno-Ocampo said. “Electoral violence is no longer a ticket to power, I assure you. It is a ticket to The Hague.”

View photos of the clashes below:
A woman clashes with Belgian riot police officers during a demonstration in support of Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi in Brussels on Monday. (FRANCOIS LENOIR - REUTERS)

South African police shoot rubber bullets at a group of Congolese protesters staging a protest in front of the ANC's Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Monday. Police arrested five who tried to storm the embassy in Pretoria. (AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

"Union for Democracy and Social Progress" (UDPS) supporters flee after tear gas canisters were used by police to disperse them near N’djili airport in Kinshasa on Nov. 26. (GWENN DUBOURTHOUMIEU - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

An opposition UDPS member bleeds from a head wound after being beaten by security forces outside N'djili airport in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital, Kinshasa, on Nov. 26. (FINBARR O'REILLY - REUTERS)

Read more news from around the world:

- Suicide bombing kills worshipers in Kabul

- Monitors find Russian elections flawed

- Critics target cost of US troops on Mexico border

- Drone lost in Iran belonged to CIA, officials say

- See more of our foreign coverage

By  |  02:55 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Tags:  World, Democratic Republic of Congo, protests, Joseph Kabila, elections

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company