Monday, September 28, 2020
11.2 C
Home Africa Eight dead in DRC protest crackdown

Eight dead in DRC protest crackdown

Eight people were killed and more than 120 were arrested in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during church-organised protests held Sunday calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down.

The dead were killed  by security forces. Seven were in the capital, Kinshasa, and one was in Kananga.

The country’s bishops have asked that Kabila not seek a third term as president. He has been in power since 2001. His two-term limit expired in December 2016, but he has refused to step down and has not allowed elections to be held.

The Church played a crucial role as mediator in negotiations that led to an agreement reached at the end of 2016 that Kabila would step down following elections to be held in 2017. Those elections were not held, and have now been delayed at least another year.

Catholic churches, as well as Protestant, had called for peaceful marches to be held to protest the delay of elections. Permission for marches was denied in Kinshasa, and police fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas into churches to prevent would-be protesters for gathering.

Text messaging and internet services were ordered to be shut down for “reasons of state security”, the New York Times reported.

St Michael’s parish in Kinshasa was forced to close when tear gas was fired into the sanctuary, and at the city’s St Joseph’s parish, 12 altar boys were arrested.

Observers have expressed concern that Kabila intends to stay in office, citing similar political patterns of other countries in the region.

“The fact of the matter is, he has no good exit plan, so he has little interest in respecting this agreement,” said Jason Stearns, the director of the Congo Research Group, according to the New York Times.

Neighboring countries like Rwanda and Burundi have seen similar political tactics, and, in 2015, the countries were able to extend the presidential limit to three-terms.

The bishops’ conference has repeatedly called upon the officials of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to uphold the agreement, emphasising the likelihood of social turmoil in response to the president’s maintenance of power.

The country’s eastern regions are in the midst of armed conflict, with millions forced from their homes, and priests and religious facing abduction and other forms of violence.

This article first appeared on CNA

* The opinions expressed here by Spotlight.Africa contributors and editors are their own and not official statements of the Society of Jesus in South Africa or of the Catholic Church unless explicitly stated.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. is an independent Catholic website which offers news and analysis on issues related to faith and society.

Most Popular

Skeleton in the closet: A closer look at the clothing industry

During the month of September, many Christian churches celebrate creation and draw attention to the ways in which our consumption patterns are...

Putting the Church’s Pastoral Plan into action

Nine months have passed since the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference launched its new Pastoral Plan. Since then, there has been very...

What the Catholic church can learn from Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman in the history of the United States to be appointed to the US Supreme Court,...

Millions at risk of abject poverty after the expiry of the COVID-19 grant

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a basic income grant to those who were the most affected...


Recent Comments