Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo have fired tear gas at protesters who burned tires and U.S. and Belgian flags near Western embassies and U.N. offices in Kinshasa, citing insecurity in eastern Congo.
The protesters claim the West supports Rwanda, which is accused of backing the Tutsi-led M23 rebellion. Rwanda has denied the accusations, and Congo, Western governments, and a United Nations expert group claim the rebel group benefits from Rwandan support.
Despite security measures being stepped up after U.N. staff and vehicles were attacked on Saturday, groups of protesters gathered at U.S. and French embassies and the offices of the United Nations mission in the Congo, known as MONUSCO.
Some threw stones, attempting to break surveillance cameras at one of the United States embassy offices, while others chanted, “Leave our country; we don’t want your hypocrisy.”
Congo’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula, met ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions in Kinshasa on Sunday, stating that security measures would be taken to protect their representations. Congo is the world’s top supplier of cobalt and Africa’s top copper producer.