Congo Supreme Court building set ablaze during vote protest

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo [JURIST news archive] in Kinhasa was set on fire Tuesday by protestors supporting Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba [campaign website, in French; Wikipedia profile], who on Saturday filed a challenge [JURIST report] to the results of last month's presidential run-off election [JURIST report], which he officially lost to incumbent Joseph Kabila [BBC profile; PPRD party website, in French] by 16 percentage points. Bemba's supporters [MLC party website], who have alleged voting fraud [JURIST report], clashed with police and UN peacekeepers attached to MONUC [official website], the UN Mission to DR Congo, who used tear gas and fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd. The fire was eventually brought under control [MONUC press release]. The rioting led the Court to suspend a scheduled hearing on Bemba's challenge, which alleges seven different violations [JURIST report], including ballot-box stuffing, irregularities in voter turnout and the barring of election officials from some polling places.

Voting fraud has been an issue [JURIST report] since the first round of the election in July. More than 30 people have died [NYT report] so far in election-related violence. BBC News has more.



 

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