Congo: At Least 26 Dead in Anti-Kabila Protests

At least 26 people have been killed in protests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Human Rights Watch said, amid a protracted crisis triggered by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his second and final term.

Joseph Kabila 2014Joseph Kabila (Photo: Amanda Lucidon/White House Demonstrators blowing whistles, beating drums and carrying signs that read “bye bye Kabila” have taken to the streets after the deadline for the president, who has ruled since 2001, passed on midnight Tuesday.

Tuesday’s protests saw a crowd in the country’s capital, Kinshasa, burn down the headquarters of the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy party.

The DRC, a resource-rich and vast country, has been in crisis for months as it became clear that Kabila was attempting to cling on to power by refusing to organize elections to choose his successor. A deal he struck with some politicians allowing him to stay in power until at least April 2018 has been rejected by key opposition figures.

Kabila has been credited with bringing relative stability to the DRC, but has also used his reign to build a massive family business empire.