Parts of Congo where a widespread Ebola outbreak has taken hold will not be able to vote until March. The country, meanwhile, has expelled the EU’s ambassador after Brussels renewed sanctions on 14 Congolese nationals.
Congolese police fired tear gas into crowds of protesters and shot bullets into the air in the eastern cities of Beni and Butembo on Thursday. Demonstrations have erupted across Congo’s areas hardest-hit by Ebola after the government announced it would delay voting in the country’s upcoming elections in these regions.
In Beni, witnesses told the Reuters news agency that demonstrators ransacked an Ebola isolation center and it was possible that some patients had fled.
At least six people were arrested in the province of North Kivu, the area most affected by the voting delay. The area is also a stronghold of political opposition to President Joseph Kabila.
Around 3 percent of Congo’s 40 million eligible voters will have to wait until March to cast their ballot. Worse still, the country’s next president will be decided without their vote. The rest of the country will finally go to the polls on Sunday after more than two years of delays.