Thursday, September 08, 2011
Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo
A private television station has been set alight in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. 'Radio Lisanga Télévision', based in Kinshasa was attacked by a gang wielding tear gas, grenades and molotov cocktails- some of whom were wearing shirts in support of the President Joseph Kabila's People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). The station has openly expressed its support for the Union for Democracy and Social Progress opposition party, and often airs programmes in their favour.
Police opened fire on protesters in a subsequent demonstration, killing an opposition activist. The clashes have brought to a head the political tension in the capital in recent weeks; the PPRD's Headquarters were reportedly ransacked last week and several leading journalists received death threats. The safety of reporters in the Democratic Republic of Congo is a matter of increasing concern in the run up to November's Presidential elections, with members of the aptly- named "Journalistes en Danger' being threatened with the 'final battle'.
The November elections will represent only the second democratic elections in the history of the DRC. However, speculation regarding the democratic nature of the elections is already rife. Opposition protests on September 1st, which accused the electoral commission of fraudulent activity in the run up to election, ended in more clashes with police.