from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – DISRUPTIVE anti-Western protests are forecast to intensify in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the instability rocking the country assumes a new dimension.
Since last Friday, protesters have gathered near foreign embassies, including the United Kingdom (UK) and States and United States (US) diplomatic offices, where some property damage and confrontations with security personnel have occurred.
United Nations (UN) agencies have not been spared the crisis that is rife in the capital, Kinshasa.
Protestors, who have been burning tyres and blockading roads, are agitating that the UN and said countries leave DRC as they are allegedly fuelling conflict.
Demonstrators accuse several Western nations of negative influence in the ongoing conflict in eastern DRC.
Supporters of the opposition group, Dynamique Progressive Revolutionnaire (DYPRO), have led the demonstrations at the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) headquarters in Kinshasa.
Protesters were likely to gather near the Gombe area where many foreign diplomatic representations are located.
Security experts forecast more clashes between demonstrators and the police are possible.
“Disruptions to road travel are likely near protest sites. Access to nearby buildings may be restricted at times if demonstrations become unruly,” said an expert.
Ambassador Lucy Tamlyn raised concern at the recent surge of what she termed as misinformation regarding US-DRC relations.
China meanwhile has urged its citizens to strengthen safety precautions “in the near future” following protests and demonstrations against foreign embassies and UN agencies in the DRC.
The Embassy suggested that expatriates and institutions in the capital city, especially merchants, supermarkets and other business places, strengthen security measures and shorten business hours.
“You (Chinese) should be more vigilant during travel, avoid going to areas with poor public security, complex personnel and concentrated diplomatic institutions, and do not stay at crowd gatherings or demonstrations.”
The Chinese Embassy urged its nationals in DRC to abide by local laws, respect local customs and establish a good image.
“If you encounter a dispute, please safeguard your rights rationally, avoid excessive words and deeds, and safeguard your rights and interests through legitimate and legal channels.”
Eastern DRC is one of the most volatile regions in the continent.
Armed groups are running rampage there. DRC is also emerging from an election that retained President Felix Tshisekedi in power, amid resistance by the opposition.
– CAJ News