Local protestor's bid to highlight Congo genocide

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Tuku Yoto with members of Awakening of Congolese Patriots (left to right): Yolande Mbala, Maha Vanessa and Emmy Kalanga		                     	  Tuku Yoto with members of Awakening of Congolese Patriots (left to right): Yolande Mbala, Maha Vanessa and Emmy Kalanga

IT'S not only Sir Bob Geldof who is interested in the plight of people in Africa.

Local resident Tuku Yoto, 35, is getting ready to take on Downing Street.

Mr Yoto, of Oliver Road, Leyton, along with over 500 protestors, will be taking part in a three-day demonstration to highlight genocide since 2001 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The three-day demonstration starts on Thursday, June 30, to mark the DRC's 35 years of independence from Belgium.

Mr Yoto, who is from the DRC but has lived in Britain for the past 13 years, belongs to a pressure group called the Awakening of Congolese Patriots, which is organising the protests.

Day one of the demonstration will end with a six-man delegation handing over a petition with over 1,000 signatures protesting at the fate of the Congolese people. As part of the petition, a document outlining the atrocities will also be handed over.

On Friday, July 1, there will be a demonstration outside the Congolese Embassy in King's Cross and the next day Mr Yoto and his supporters are proposing to march from the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square to the House of Commons.

He said human rights demonstrations would also be held simultaneously in Paris, Brussels and Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, in the hope of getting the message across.

Mr Yoto said: "I want to make as many people and governments aware of what's happening to the Congolese people, in the hope that something can be done. It's not just indiscriminate murders that are taking place but also the rape of men and women."

Forty-five years ago the DRC gained independence from Belgium and its first democratic elections were due to take place on June 30, but Mr Yoto said that with under a month to go, nothing had been done.

The atrocities started when rebel groups formed to liberate the country in 2001. The Democratic Republic of Congo is a mineral rich country and is bordered by Uganda and Rwanda.

The United Nations has a presence in the DRC, but has so far failed to act, says Mr Yoto.

For details regarding demonstration times and further information, please contact him on 07940 010 165.

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