Streets of DR Congo capital quiet at start of general strike


The streets of the capital of Democratic Republic of Congo were quieter than usual on Tuesday at the start of a one-day general strike aimed at putting pressure on President Joseph Kabila to quit power when his mandate ends in December, witnesses said.

Police in the eastern city of Goma detained at least six pro-democracy activists overnight in a bid to undermine the strike, fellow activists said.

Six or seven members of the Struggle for Change (LUCHA) group were detained around 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) in a private house as they prepared leaflets to distribute in support of the strike, Lucha member Luc Nkulula told Reuters.

There was no immediate comment from police or other authorities.

Kabila succeeded his assassinated father in 2001 and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011. He is barred by the constitution from standing for a third term in a presidential vote slated for November but critics accuse him of trying to delay the election to hang onto power.

More than 40 people died during a police crackdown on protests over the same issue in January 2015.

The strike did not bring the city to a complete standstill and dozens of workers congregated outside a major brewery waiting to start work, a witness said.

The popular Radio France International station was off air in the early morning. The signal was cut during last year’s political unrest though authorities did not immediately confirm on Tuesday that it had been cut.