KINSHASA, Congo – Congo will expel the African activists arrested over the weekend following a U.S.-sponsored event to encourage greater participation in politics.
The activists — from Senegal and Burkina Faso — are members of movements that have led large-scale protests in their countries in recent years against presidents attempting to extend their time in office. An American diplomat was also briefly detained in the sweep, which followed a news conference about the event. The U.S. embassy described the activists invited to the event as non-partisan.
But Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende told reporters Wednesday that the activists' goal was to "drive out the president of the republic." He said the charges against them will be dropped but they have been declared "personae non grata" and will be expelled as soon as possible.