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Police disperse photojournalists peacefully protesting their colleague's murder in Kinshasa

(JED/IFEX) - On 16 August 2007, a peaceful march of about 100 photojournalists was dispersed in Kinshasa, the capital, by several Rapid Intervention Police (Police d'intervention rapide, PIR) officers. The police were called to the scene as the photojournalists headed to the Interior Ministry to deliver a statement.

The march was organised by the National Photographers Union (Union nationale des photographes du Congo, Unaphoco), to protest the murder on 9 August in Goma of Patrick Kikuku Wilungula, a photojournalist with the Congolese News Agency (Agence Congolaise de Presse, ACP) and the Kinshasa-based weekly "L'Hebdo de l'Est".

According to eyewitness accounts obtained by JED, the photojournalists were well on their way to the ministry when the police officers stopped and ordered them to disperse under the pretext that the urban authority had not been informed of the demonstration. To avoid any altercation with the police, the photojournalists dispersed without resistance. They told JED they had written beforehand to the Kinshasa governor.

JED is shocked by the police's behaviour and notes that the freedom to demonstrate, as guaranteed by the constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is only subject to the obligation to inform in writing the appropriate administrative authority, which was done in this case.

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