< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Congo Pins Protest on Homeless

Monday, November 13, 2006

Congo Pins Protest on Homeless

From the Washington Post:

Scores of homeless children and others living on the streets of Congo's capital have been rounded up and accused of starting a protest that led to violence, officials said Monday. The move came as this increasingly tense nation awaited results of a presidential election.

Advocates for street children said those arrested were scapegoats, but Interior Minister Denis Kalume was quoted on state radio as saying the 337 homeless people, including 87 children and 15 mothers, had provoked violence "by disturbing the peace." Kalume said they were being taken outside the capital for "social training."

Violence erupted Saturday between supporters of President Joseph Kabila and Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba, the contenders in a presidential runoff late last month. The governor of the Congolese capital said gun and mortar fire killed three civilians and a soldier in front of Bemba's home -- the scene of the weekend fighting.

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