Brutal police response to DR Congo protests

By The Ligali Organisation | Thu 15 December 2011

Police cordon closing in on peaceful sit-down (Credit: Indymedia)

Pro democracy protesters across the Pan African world face violent assault from state police as they challenge the widely contested re-election of President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Over 130 people were arrested and placed in custody at various police stations across London after a demonstration held in Trafalgar Square on Saturday turned ugly. As almost a thousand people peacefully gathered, sang and danced whilst calling for genuine democracy, elsewhere tensions rose after a very small group young Africans became excitable near a choir singing Christmas songs to collect money for the Macmillan charity.

Police officers who were initially inert and deploying covert surveillance techniques, are then said to have become abusive and forcibly attempt to contain innocent campaigners in shops and on buses in alleged support of the singers whose choir leader has said ‘They [the DRC democracy protestors] were determined not to let us sing and have fun’.

The protestors have been charged with various offences including obstructing the highway, breaching the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act and assault on police.

The London campaign is part of a global movement of opposition to the re-election of President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Similar protests in Congo have already led to the death of at least 18 people. It is argued that Kabila who is backed by western governments deliberately leaves grass root Congolese impoverished as a consequence of squandering the extensive mineral wealth of the nation for personal gain and foreign economic interests.

British Police arrest DRC protester

Kabila election ‘lacks credibility’

There have been several protests over this and the last week with gatherings taking place from Belgium to Whitehall, UK. They have attracted hundreds of participants and are largely attended by Africans of all ages and backgrounds. In Belgium, police closed the Brussel quarter of Matange which is a resident and shopping district predominately populated by the Congolese community before mounting an attack on African protesters.

Yet despite independent observers claiming that the DRC elections ‘lack credibility’ the story has largely been ignored by western media with only independent outlets like Indymedia and various Pan African news organisations publishing and supporting the protestors legitimate concerns.

President Joseph Kabila's main rival is Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP). In the November 28 vote, in which Kabila was declared the winner, The Independent National Electoral Commission state he took 49 per cent of votes, compared with Tshisekedi who is said to have secured second place with 32 per cent.

Scottish MP Eric Joyce is calling for Britain's Serious Fraud Office to investigate Kabila's awarding of mineral contracts worth billions at a loss making price to several multi-national “shell” type companies registered in the British Virgin Islands.

Top: DRC Protestors move up London’s Shaftesbury Avenue (Credit: Indymedia) Bottom: Belgium police launch attack on African protesters

External Links
Remarkable media silence on Congo protests
Charges after Congo protests
DR Congo protests in London result in 139 arrests
Matonge : 50 plaintes pour violences policières
DR Congo opposition calls for protests

Ligali is not responsible for the content of third party sites

Congo President Rejects British MP Accusations of Mining Fraud
How much does an iPhone really cost?

Speak Out!

Click here to speak out and share your perspective on this article.
Police officers are said to have forcibly contained innocent campaigners on buses in support of carol singers whose choir leader has said ‘They [the DRC democracy protestors] were determined not to let us sing and have fun’.

See Related:

Get involved and help change our world