Monday

19th Nov 2018

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.

Black gold in Virunga, curse or saviour?

The DRC's Virunga National Park is teaming with wildlife but also sits atop huge oil deposits, traditionally a magnet for corruption in parts of Africa. New EU legislation covering the extractive industry may help.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland extradites Polish man despite rule of law concerns
  2. Germany and France agree eurozone budget framework
  3. Austrian foreign minister: EU's Israel policy 'too strict'
  4. Soros and Kurz discuss Central European University move
  5. EU set to tighten rules on foreign strategic investment
  6. Macron repeats call for unified Europe in Bundestag speech
  7. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  8. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem

Opinion

EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation

EU foreign ministers will discuss Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday. The EU has the opportunity to show that it is not a political dwarf in the Balkans, where not only economic, but also political reforms are necessary.

Agenda

Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK

All eyes on London this week, where May struggles to hold onto power against Brexit rebels, while EU leaders meet in Brussels on Sunday to try to clinch agreement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Whistleblower: Danske Bank gag stops me telling more
  2. Spain raises Gibraltar, as EU and UK talk post-2020 relationship
  3. Panic is not answer to EU's security challenges
  4. Dutch flesh out proposal for EU human rights sanctions
  5. EU cheerleaders go to Russia-occupied Ukraine
  6. EU must recognise new force for Balkans destabilisation
  7. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  8. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us