DR Congo police crush opposition ceremony

DR Congo police crush opposition ceremony – [Al Jazeera English]

“Tear gas used on supporters of Etienne Tshisekedi, who planned to declare himself president despite losing election.”

“Security forces in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have squashed an attempt by top opposition figure Etienne Tshisekedi to swear himself in as president despite officially losing recent a contested recent election.”

“Tshisekedi disputes the re-election of President Joseph Kabila in a November 28 vote that the opposition rejected as fraudulent and international observers criticised for procedural chaos and irregularities.”

“Riot trucks loaded with police carrying tear-gas grenade launchers and rifles zoomed through the streets of Kinshasa, the capital, on Friday while tanks and heavily armed republican guards were deployed inside the stadium grounds where Tshisekedi had planned his rival swearing-in ceremony.”

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Congolese community demonstrate in London

Congolese Community Demonstrate in London

Massive police operation in central london (10/12/11) to control a passionate but mainly peaceful protest by up to 1000 congolese people which began in whitehall, spreading to trafalgar square, and with further breakaway groups marching through the west end. mainstream coverage has been minimal.

REPOST. See full article here

Today’s protest follows two others this week, with serious clashes between police and hundreds of protestors outside downing street on tuesday, and on thursday evening oxford circus was closed down for a while, and police arranged for an empty train to ferry protestors to seven sisters station for dispersal in tottenham.

but you’d be hard-pressed to find much about these events on bbc or other mainstream media other than a brief report of 143 arrests this evening, with no explanation of the issues other than it being ‘a demonstration over election results’.

well, according to the very passionate voices on the streets tonight, the issue is years of mass rape, genocide, and repression (with UN estimates of more than 5 million, nearly a tenth of the population, murdered in the past decade) and the western states’ support for an illegitimate leader after rigged elections.

the protestors believe that joseph kabila, who this week was announced as clear leader in the first democratic elections in the country in 40 years, is a corrupt rwandan military man with a deadly army unit of 7000 soldiers who is supported by western interests. they believe that etienne tshisekedi has a much larger popular vote, with estimates of support above 50%.

it is not hard to see why the west would meddle in the affairs of this huge country. it has vast mineral wealth, being the main world source of ‘coltan’ used widely in mobile phones, as well as cobalt, copper, uranium, gold, diamonds, tin, and zinc. as is often the case in africa, despite these huge resources, the standard of living of ordinary people in this rich country has been spiralling downwards for years.

the congolese protestors see cameron, sarkozy, and obama as the three biggest hypocrites, looters, and supporters of the illegitimate regime responsible for the human rights abuses in their country. with the first results of the election coming out, they see western support as a key ingredient in the rigged vote.

on tuesday a few hundred congo supporters blocked whitehall outside downing street, and as police TSG cleared the road, one protestor was violently head-butted and received a broken nose (fortunately caught on video by activists and soon to emerge).

today, up to a thousand protested again in whitehall, and the road was blocked for hours with a huge police containment operation failing to get to grips with the protest, and breakway groups forming further road blocks around trafalgar square and other parts of london.

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Border Agency works for a white Christmas

2 mass deportations in next 2 weeks as UK Border Agency Works for a white Christmas

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) plans a wave of mass deportations in a bid to purge Britain of unwanted migrants in time for Christmas. Aircraft have been chartered for collective expulsions to Nigeria on 8th December and Sri Lanka on 15th December. Up to 140 asylum-seekers face the risk of arbitrary detention, torture, sexual abuse or homelessness upon return.

The civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 with President Mahinda Rajapaksa facing allegations of war crimes against Tamils. A recent report, featured on Channel 4 News and the Guardian, by the organisation, Freedom from Torture (see the PDF at confirms that Tamil refugees deported to Sri Lanka face detention, surveillance and torture. A similar deportation of up to 50 Tamil refugees was carried out by the UKBA with the co-operation of the Sri Lankan government on 28th September 2011.

Anti-deportation campaigners have also condemned the mass deportation of detained asylum-seekers to Nigeria next Thursday. Many detainees fear degrading treatment on return. Detainee support groups claim that women dumped at Lagos Airport by the UKBA often have to resort to sex work to get by. At least 6 similar collective expulsions have already occurred in 2011. 55 Nigerians, including up to 20 women, were forcibly removed from the UK on 26th October. Many of them had lived in the UK for years and faced destitution on return. The UKBA has used the code-name “Operation Majestic” for deportation charter flights to Nigeria and hired coaches branded “Just Go!” to escort detainees from the detention centre to the airport.
Last December, Britain co-operated with several EU States in a bungled mass deportation attempt of almost 100 Nigerian migrants (including 2 children dressed only in pyjamas) that cost €372,000. The plane stopped-over to collect Nigerians in multiple EU countries but the deportation was abandoned when the aircraft broke down in Greece.

Mass deportations to Nigeria from UK in 2011

7th February: 85 deported (56 men, 19 women, 10 children). Aircraft supplied by Thomas Cook (TCX542/5). Cost €500,000. Organised by Joint EU Border Agency FRONTEX with Ireland, France, Germany, Greece, Malta, Norway, Sweden and UK.

4th March: 92 deported

20th April: 52 deported

May: Plane from UK broke down in Greece after passing through Ireland. A new plane in Greece returned all migrants to the detention centres.

21st July: 61 deported (47 men, 11 women, 3 children)

26th October: 55 deported. Aircraft supplied by Ryan International Airlines.

8th December: Flight number PVT 090.