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UN Calls on DRC Security Forces, Protesters to Refrain From Violence

© REUTERS / Mariana BazoUN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the announcement of elections in Lesotho, scheduled for February 28, 2015.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the announcement of elections in Lesotho, scheduled for February 28, 2015. - Sputnik International
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Following a crackdown on unarmed demonstrators by authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the DRC's security forces and protesters to refrain from violence.

UNITED NATIONS, January 23 (Sputnik) – UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called security forces of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and protesters to refrain from violence, following a crackdown on unarmed demonstrators by the DRC authorities.

"He [Ban] deplores the loss of lives and injuries caused so far and calls on the security forces and demonstrators to refrain from further violence and exercise maximum restraint," Thursday's statement said.

The Secretary General highlighted the governmental responsibility to provide political space for peaceful expression of opinion.

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"Demonstrations should be conducted in a peaceful manner, while violence is not acceptable, the response to violent protests must also be proportionate," Ban said.

Major protests have occurred in the DRC in recent days regarding new electoral legislation. The new legislation would extend President Joseph Kabila's rule.

Earlier on Thursday, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous stated that the organization was troubled by the reports the use of force against unarmed demonstrators, as well as arbitrary arrests, by the security forces. Reports of the government shutting down websites, radio stations and text messages services were branded "alarming" by Ladsous.

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