Eight dead after police action ahead of DRC elections

Up to 32 million Congolese are due to head to the polls on Monday 28 November after a weekend marked by deadly street clashes and allegations of cheating

Human Rights Watch says eight people were reportedly killed and dozens injured on Saturday 26 November when police fired bullets and teargas at opposition supporters in Kinshasa near the airport.

Étienne Tshisekedi, the veteran candidate seen as the chief threat to the president, Joseph Kabila, claimed that his plane was initially denied permission to land and that he was then detained at the airport for eight hours by police.

The 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections are the second time in Congo's history that the whole population has been able to vote. The pre-election period has been marred by claims of fraud, brutal crackdowns on the opposition and logistical problems in distributing 186,000 ballot boxes around sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country.

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