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DR Congo: Protesters burn US flags, target western embassies

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DR Congo: Protesters burn US flags, target western embassies

Protesters have burned US and Belgian flags, as well as tyres, as they attack Western embassies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital.

Police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators in central Kinshasa on Monday.

The protesters were outraged by what they viewed as Western support for neighbouring Rwanda, which had been accused of sponsoring an insurrection in the DRC’s east.

Rwanda has refuted the allegations, which were made as the Tutsi-led rebel force M23 advanced and threatened the vital city of Goma.

However, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Western governments like the United States and Belgium, and a UN expert committee claim that Rwandan supports M23.

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Human Rights Watch reports that armed rebels in the country’s east have perpetrated unlawful executions, rape, and other apparent war crimes since late 2022.

Protesters gathered on Monday at the US and French embassies, as well as the UN mission’s buildings, despite enhanced security following Saturday’s attack on UN officials and vehicles.

Some protesters threw stones and tried to break CCTV cameras at one of the US embassy offices, while others chanted, “Leave our country; we don’t want your hypocrisy.”

“The international community remains silent while Congolese are being killed; they finance Rwanda,” said motorcyclist Fabrice Malumba, who took part in the demonstration in front of the US embassy.

“The Westerners are behind the looting of our country; Rwanda doesn’t work alone, so they must leave our country,” said Pepin Mbindu, a protester.

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Elsewhere, A demonstrator reportedly removed an EU flag from the gate to a prominent hotel in the city centre.

Christophe Lutundula, the DRC’s vice prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, met with ambassadors and chiefs of diplomatic missions in Kinshasa and later announced security measures to secure their facilities.

Decades of conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo between opposing armed groups over land and resources, as well as attacks on civilians, have killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more than seven million people.

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