Thursday

9th Jul 2020

Investigation

Congolese tensions spill onto streets of Brussels

  • Tensions are rising following last week's elections (Photo: United Nations Photo)

Post-electoral tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo spilled onto the streets of Brussels on Monday (5 December), with angry supporters of opposition presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi damaging vehicles and briefly occupying the EU capital’s inner ring-road.

Roughly 300 supporters of the veteran Congolese politician gathered in Brussels’ Porte de Namur area during the afternoon, alarmed by recent events in their home country where presidential and legislative elections were held last week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

A smaller group of roughly 80 militants was subsequently prevented from reaching Walloon Socialist Party headquarters on Boulevard de l’Empereur, reports the Belga news agency. They then returned to Porte de Namur where clashes broke out with the police.

A number of shop and car windows were smashed before smaller groups of protestors then moved on to the US and Congolese embassies.

The scuffles mirror far more serious tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo where a standoff is developing between Tshisekedi and incumbent president Joseph Kabila.

Both men claim to have won the presidential election based on exit polls, with full preliminary results scheduled for this Tuesday.

In a break with protocol however, the country’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has released partial results showing Kabila in the lead.

"The EU has an election observation team in place and the European Parliament will await its findings anxiously,” said Conservative MEP Charles Tannock in a statement on Monday.

"However, preliminary leaked reports from international observers on the ground are suggesting that the CENI ... might be manipulating the results in favour of one candidate.”

“If true this allegation of electoral fraud is very worrying.”

International diplomats are working overtime on the ground to prevent a large-scale outbreak of violence, with clashes between opposition supporters and security forces continuing on Monday.

At least 18 people have been killed in election-related violence so far, according to Human Rights Watch. And there are fears that greater bloodshed will accompany the seemly inevitable rejection by one side of the final results.

Several thousand Congolese citizens and expats living in the DRC have abandoned the country in recent days, fearing an uptick in the violence. Many have opted to take the boat across the Congo River to Brazzaville.

Kabila re-elected in Congo

The international community calls for calm as the main opposition leader declares himself victor.

Feature

Colonisers speak - 60 years after Congo's independence

Belgium is in the midst of a nationwide reassessment of its colonial past. Under pressure from a younger, more activist, generation and a growing African diaspora, the former colonial power has taken some steps over the past year.

News in Brief

  1. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'
  2. Shipping firms to face EU carbon regime
  3. EU to mediate between Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey
  4. EU to unveil arms-trafficking and drug proposals
  5. EU to discuss people-smuggling with African states
  6. 'Torture chamber' found in Dutch sea containers
  7. Commissioner backs under-attack Hungarian news site
  8. New French government tilts to right

Column

The opportunistic peace

This will be the most selfish act in recent economic history. It will burden future generations and by no means make the weakest member states better off.

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism
  2. The opportunistic peace
  3. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  4. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  5. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy
  6. Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video
  7. Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss
  8. Belarus: Inside Lukashenko’s crackdown on independent voices

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us