Congolese security forces fired into the air and used tear gas in Kinshasa on Friday, January 12, to disperse a crowd that had gathered in front of the Notre-Dame Cathedral to pay tribute to the victims of a deadly December 31 protest. At least one person was injured. Calm has reportedly been restored.
Police forces killed at least seven protesters participating in anti-Kabila demonstrations in Kinshasa on December 31. At least 123 people had been arrested across the country amid a related crackdown, according to UN observers. The DRC is experiencing a political crisis that stems from President Kabila's refusal to step down after his term expired in December 2016 and December 31 marked the one year anniversary of the 2016 political agreement, under which elections were supposed to take place in 2017. However, in November the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that elections would be set to take place one year after this deadline, on December 23, 2018. The opposition coalition has denounced the timeframe, demanding that a transitional administration be put in place immediately and presidential elections be held in January 2018.
Individuals present in the DRC are advised to monitor the situation, maintain a high degree of situational awareness, and avoid all rallies and demonstrations due to the risk of violence.