Reuters International

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Police in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo arrested at least four people on Saturday who were protesting the failure of government and U.N. peacekeeping forces to prevent repeated massacres, the United Nations said.

Over 500 people have been killed in dozens of raids near the northeastern town of Beni since October 2014. The government and United Nations have blamed almost all of the attacks on a Ugandan Islamist rebel group, though analysts say others, including some Congolese army soldiers, are also involved.

About 15 people were protesting peacefully outside the U.N. peacekeeping mission's headquarters in the eastern city of Goma when police violently dispersed them with batons, said Jose Maria Aranaz, director of the U.N. human rights office in Congo.

Four were arrested and three injured, he told Reuters.

The protest group said in a statement that seven of its members and a journalist had been arrested. The provincial police commander was not immediately available for comment.

Dozens of protesters have been arrested since last year. The United Nations and rights groups say the arrests are part of a growing crackdown on dissent ahead of a controversial presidential election scheduled for November.

The government denies those charges.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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