U.N. Condemns Congo’s Use of Force Against Protesters and Monitors

U.N. Condemns Congo’s Use of Force Against Protesters and Monitors

“They were targeted,” Ms. Shamdasani said.

“If security forces are going to be so brazen as to even attack the U.N., then we are very concerned about the way that they’re going to be treating other protesters,” she added.

Sunday’s protests were the second outburst in less than a month against President Kabila. He had promised to hold elections in 2017, but the country’s election commission postponed them until the end of 2018.

The security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to break up demonstrations in Kinshasa on Dec. 31, and Ms. Shamdasani said that their actions left nine people dead and 98 injured.

The Congolese authorities have also sought to stifle protests by arbitrarily detaining opposition political leaders, critics and prominent members of civil society organizations.

Sunday’s demonstrations began after services at Roman Catholic churches. Church leaders had helped to broker an agreement under which the government would hold elections at the end of 2017 in a bid to ease political tensions. But they called for peaceful demonstrations when the elections did not take place.

On Sunday, troops and police officers fired tear gas into and near churches in several cities, employing the same tactics used to break up the Dec. 31 protests.

As it did last month, the government also suspended access to the internet and social media sites throughout the country beginning on Saturday night.

Pope Francis, who was in Peru at the end of visit to South America, called on Sunday for the authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to “avoid all forms of violence and seek the solutions for the common good.”

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