Police in DRC fire at protesters

EU ambassador expelled from DRC ahead of polls

And between 43 percent and 53 percent said they did not trust DRC's courts to settle any election dispute fairly.

In the province of North Kivu, the region most affected by the decision, several hundred demonstrators gathered in the administrative district of the city of Beni.

Protesters walk near the electoral commission in Beni during a demonstration against the postponement of elections in the territory of the Beni and the city of Butembo on December 27, 2018.

Around 3% of some 40 million registered voters will be affected by the delay.

The mini-summit was held in Brazzaville, four days before problem-strewn elections across the border.

Lamuka, a coalition of parties supporting opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, called for cities to be brought to a standstill in protest at a fresh organisational blow to the vote.

Clashes also broke out in the opposition strongholds of Goma and Butembo, both in the east of the country.

Congo's leader Joseph Kabila has blamed a deadly Ebola virus outbreak for the last-minute decision to keep an estimated 1 million voters from the polls in Sunday's long-delayed presidential election.

Kabila's second and final term in office ended two years ago, but he remained in power, thanks to a caretaker clause in the constitution.

Paul Tshilumbu, a spokesman for the UDPS party of the other main opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, told Reuters Tshisekedi would participate in Sunday's vote despite the CENI's announcement.

He and Nzangi accused the CENI of trying to tip the election in favour of Kabila's preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

In 1996-1997 and 1998-2003, the DRC was the theatre of two bad conflicts - the second of which was called "the Great War of Africa" for the millions of dead and homeless that it left.

The DRC gained independence from Belgium in 1960 but in the almost 60 years since then has never had a peaceful transition of power.

DR Congo Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu earlier told the European Union that it had 48 hours to withdraw its representative in retaliation for sanctions against 14 officials, including President Joseph Kabila's handpicked candidate for the long-delayed vote, AFP reports. The EU prolonged the sanctions earlier this month after Congo's foreign minister pleaded with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to lift the sanctions, even for a "probationary period".

The country's election commission then moved the date from 23 to 30 December after a fire destroyed voting equipment stored in a warehouse in Kinshasa on 13 December.

On Wednesday, the presidents of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and the neighbouring Republic of Congo called for "peaceful, free, democratic and transparent" elections and expressed deep concern at the violence.

A vast, mineral-rich country that straddles central Africa, the country has a reputation for political turmoil, corruption and poverty.

There is no immediate comment from Ambassador Bart Ouvry.

The South African Development Community (Sadc), a regional bloc which includes DR Congo, has sent a delegation to the country in a bid to ease tensions ahead of the poll.

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