In the heart of Kinshasa, Congo, a wave of protesters flooded the streets, their frustration with escalating insecurity in the country’s east reaching a boiling point.
Burning tires and targeting symbols of foreign influence, including U.S. and Belgian embassies, the demonstrators used a new tactic to convey their belief that the West is backing Rwanda.
The neighboring nation is accused of supporting the Tutsi-led M23 rebellion, which poses a significant threat to the strategic city of Goma.
In a bold move, protesters gathered at key locations, such as the U.S. and French embassies, as well as the offices of MONUSCO, the U.N. mission in Congo. Stones were hurled, and attempts were made to damage surveillance cameras at the U.S. embassy. Chants demanding the departure of foreign influences echoed through the air.
The protesters passionately claim that Western nations are complicit in the looting of their country, emphasizing that Rwanda does not act in isolation. A demonstrator symbolically removed the EU flag from a central hotel entrance, expressing their discontent.
Amidst clashes and the dispersal of tear gas, Fabrice Malumba, a motorcycle driver joining the demonstration, highlighted the perceived silence of the international community in the face of Congolese lives lost, while alleging financial support for Rwanda.
Taking diplomatic action, Christophe Lutundula, Congo’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, engaged with ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions, assuring them of security measures aligned with the Vienna Convention. General Blaise Mbula Kilimba Limba, Kinshasa police chief, reiterated their commitment to safeguarding partner embassies.
This protest mirrors the enduring conflicts in eastern Congo, marked by armed groups vying for control over land and resources. The resulting civilian casualties and mass displacement have persisted for decades. Compounding this situation, Congo plays a crucial role in the global supply chain as the leading cobalt provider and Africa’s top copper producer.
As Congo grapples with internal strife, these clashes clearly show the broader impact of regional conflicts on a vital sector of the global economy.
The situation is a complex web of historical tensions and contemporary challenges, with the international community navigating its role amid local grievances and geopolitical complexities.