The coffin carrying the remains of longtime Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi arrives at Kinshasa airport Thursday, May 30, 2019. The body of Tshisekedi, father of the current Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, died in Brussels in February 2017, was returned to home soil Thursday night for burial more than two years after his death, after a political standoff ended. (AP Photo/John Bompengo)
KINSHASA, Congo – Tens of thousands of Congolese are descending on a stadium in the capital to pay their respects to the late opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.
The 84-year-old died in Belgium two years ago, but the regime in power in Congo at the time blocked the return of his remains for fear it could incite unrest.
All that changed when Tshisekedi's son Felix was declared the surprise winner of January's presidential election.
As former president Joseph Kabila stepped down after 18 years in power, Tshisekedi's son vowed to bring his father's body home to Congolese soil.
The plane arrived late Thursday and a seven-hour procession to downtown Kinshasa followed. Etienne Tshisekedi's body will lie in state on Friday and his funeral and burial are set for Saturday.