Friday

20th Apr 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Agenda

Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK

The European Commission will present proposals to protect whistleblowers, combat fake news and organise the digital single market. The international community will gather in Brussels to discuss how to help Syrians in the current war and after.

Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform

France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists