We returned here to Bukavu at 10.00 this morning and passed through Independence Square. Riot police in visor helmets and heavy body armour lined the steps and platforms, a hangover from yesterday’s trouble and a black ominous presence to deter a repeat of any gathering in support of Vital Kamerhe.
Bukavu is a stronghold for the opposition leader and from what we can gather he had planned to hold a rally yesterday in the square only for his supporters to be re-directed to the football ground. The talk around Bukavu is that two football teams were paid $1000 by the government to play a match at the ground at the same time and thereby curtail any chance of a rally. Kamerhe’s supporters were frustrated and returned to the square where they were shot at by the police.
We’ve heard reports that a woman died but I can’t find confirmation on the web. There’s coverage by Reuter’s here and coverage by Relief Web here. I’ve just seen a report on the TV that says that 47 people were injured.
Today we saw a noisy procession of motos and cars apparently following Kamerhe’s car when he drove through town. The cavalcade was no more than a melee of enthusiastic supporters flying red and white flags.
It’s another two years until the next presidential election. The events yesterday don’t bode well for a peaceful contest.