Tuesday

17th Sep 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

News in Brief

  1. Germany prepared to top up post-Brexit EU budget
  2. New Saudi attack threats, but EU and US still divided
  3. EU anti-trust chief goes after Belgian tax breaks
  4. Luxembourg PM Bettel humiliates Johnson
  5. No new backstop proposal at Juncker-Johnson lunch
  6. Saudi oil production in flames after drone attack
  7. US: attack on Saudi oil came from Iran or Iraq
  8. Poll: Belgium's far-right Vlaams Belang largest party

Opinion

Why I'm voting against the von der Leyen commission

The new migration commissioner's job title, "Protecting our European way of life", rings not of pan-European solidarity or federalism - but is incorporated from the playbook of the extreme right.

Agenda

Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK

Jean-Claude Juncker will meet Boris Johnson for the first time, but no breakthrough is expected in Brexit talks. MEPs are preparing to hear from the commission-designates, while Hungary will be grilled at the EU affairs' ministers meeting.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  2. EU divided on how to protect rule of law
  3. Nordic region to become world's most sustainable and integrated
  4. In detail: Belgium's EU nominee faces crime probe
  5. France urges EU virtual currency rules amid Libra risk
  6. Brexit and new commission in focus This WEEK
  7. As recession looms, Europe needs more spending
  8. How should the EU handle Russia now?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us