France urges Congo authorities to respect constitution after clashes

French President, Francoise Hollande has urged authorities in Democratic Republic of Congo,DRC to respect the constitution and to hold elections on schedule later this year.

Hollande, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, also blamed the Congolese authorities for violent clashes between security forces and protesters this week in which Human Rights Watch said at least 44 people were killed.

“These clashes were caused by abuses by the Congolese state itself … The main opposition party’s headquarters was attacked and even set alight. We can’t accept such behaviour in any country and I want to condemn that,” Hollande said.drc-clash

There were sporadic clashes between police and groups of young men on Tuesday in some parts of the capital. Unusually for Kinshasa, trucks full of soldiers from the Republican Guard were out on the streets.

Heavier violence took place overnight, as armed men set fire to at least five headquarters of opposition parties that helped to organise protests on Monday.

Several pro-government parties saw their offices burned down during those protests.
A leading figure in the largest opposition party and the UDPS, Felix Tshisekedi spoke to reporters as people picked through the remains of his headquarters in Limete, an opposition stronghold.

Tshisekedi said, “Commandos from the ruling party camp arrived at 2 a.m. and went to work until 4.30 a.m. They attacked and killed our guards. There are five dead. DRC is a dictatorship and this government deserves the popular revolt that is coming to topple it.”

The opposition coalition known as the Rassemblement or the Assembly, had organised a march on Monday to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down in December when his second term ends.