Peaceful demonstrators were subjected to violence once again at the weekend in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As on 31 December 2017, people were killed and many more injured. A large number of arrests was made.
A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement on the situation today (23 January):
"We were very sorry to learn of the renewed violence and would like to convey our sympathy to the victims and their families.
The German Government condemns the use of disproportionate violence by the security forces. Along with our European partners, we call for those responsible to be brought to justice.
Free and fair elections by the end of the year will only be possible if the political transition agreement of 31 December 2016, in particular the confidence-building measures, including the release of political prisoners, is implemented."
Contrary to the political transition agreement of 31 December 2016 (the New Year's Eve Agreement) between the Government and opposition, the compromise election date scheduled for the end of 2017 was not upheld. On 5 November 2017, the Congolese election commission CENI announced that presidential, parliamentary and regional/local elections would only be held on 23 December 2018.
The opposition and civil society strongly condemned this move by the Government and announced protests. The public's dissatisfaction with the Government already led to intense protests in 2016, which were also met with undue violence by the police.