01:14 GMT03 June 2020
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    Violent protests against the new electoral bill that started on Monday in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, have reportedly resulted in the deaths of thirteen people; while Internet and SMS service have also been shut down by government as violence grows.

    MOSCOW, January 20 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova – Violent protests in Congo's capital of Kinshasa flared after reform of the state's electoral law, resulteing in the deaths of thirteen people, according to Euronews; while reports say the government has shut down Internet and SMS service in the capital.

    "Hundreds of people threw stones and burned tyres, and tried to set up at least one barricade. There were also protests in the eastern city of Goma. Conflicting reports say there were a number of fatalities, possibly as high as 13," Euronews reported.

    Reports say the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has blocked Internet and SMS service in Kinshasa and Goma, as the Senate prepares to pass an amended version of electoral law.

    In accordance with the revised law, both presidential and parliamentary elections would be delayed beyond 2016, allowing Joseph Kaliba, the president of the country, to stay in power, Agence France-Presse elaborates. The lower house of Congo’s parliament passed the amended version on Saturday, January 17, by 337 votes to eight, with 24 abstentions.

    Enraged by the new electoral bill, protesters took to the streets of Kinshasa on Monday, January 19, prompting police and the Republican Guard to seal off the area around the parliament building. Law enforcerment also blocked the headquarters of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), one of the country's biggest opposition parties, after its members called upon Kinshasa civilians "to occupy" parliament.

    "It is impounding of democracy by the political allies of Mr Kabila," UNC president Vital Kamerhe claimed as cited by Agence France-Presse.

    At least four people were killed during massive clashes in Kinshasa on Monday, reports say, adding that on Tuesday the riots have continued in the capital and in the eastern city of Goma.

    It is worth mentioning that in recent months presidents of several African states have made attempts to expand their power through constitutional changes, provoking fierce protests from their opposition.

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    Tags:
    casualties, social media, Internet, violence, presidential elections, protests, Democratic Republic of Congo
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