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Democratic Republic of Congo bans internet and texting ahead of protests

Staff Writer |
Democratic Republic of Congo’s government ordered telecommunications providers to cut internet and SMS services across the country ahead of planned anti-government demonstrations.

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Grassroots Catholic activists have called for marches in major cities on Sunday to demand that President Joseph Kabila commit to not changing the constitution to stand for a third term and release political prisoners.

Kabila was required by the constitution to step down in December last year when his mandate expired but an election to replace him has been repeatedly delayed and is now scheduled for December 2018.

Security forces killed dozens of protesters during anti-Kabila demonstrations last year, and deteriorating security has led to fears of renewed civil strife in Congo, where millions of people died in civil wars around the turn of the century.

“It is for reasons of state security,” telecommunications minister Emery Okundji told Reuters. “In response to violence that is being prepared... the government has the duty to take all measures to protect Congolese lives.”

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