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Thursday February 22, 2024

Congo protesters burn US and Belgian flags, target Western embassies

Protesters gathered at US, French embassies and offices of UN mission in Congo known as MONUSCO

By REUTERS
February 13, 2024
Protesters in Congo can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
Protesters in Congo can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

KINSHASA: Police in Democratic Republic of Congo fired tear gas on Monday to disperse protesters who burned tyres and US and Belgian flags near Western embassies and UN offices in the capital Kinshasa, angry about insecurity in eastern Congo.

The protesters, seizing on a new tactic by targeting embassies, say the West supports neighbouring Rwanda, which is accused of backing the Tutsi-led M23 rebellion whose advance is threatening the strategic city of Goma in the east.

Rwanda has denied the accusations. Congo, Western governments including the United States and Belgium, and a United Nations expert group say the rebel group benefits from Rwandan support.

Despite security being stepped up after UN staff and vehicles were attacked on Saturday, groups of protesters gathered at the US and French embassies and the offices of the United Nations mission in Congo known as MONUSCO.

Some threw stones, attempting to break the surveillance cameras at one of the United States embassy offices, while others chanted “Leave our country, we don’t want your hypocrisy”.“The Westerners are behind the looting of our country, Rwanda doesn’t work alone, so they must leave our country,” said Pepin Mbindu, who joined the protest.