Church leaders in Congo expressed shock after security forces fired on Catholic protesters, leaving at least eight dead and 120 people detained.
The 31st December protest against rule by President Joseph Kabila was organised by the Kinshasa archdiocesan lay co-ordination committee. At least a dozen priests were among those detained.
“We condemn with utmost vigour this unjustified violence,” the Congolese bishops’ conference said in a statement on 2nd January.
“We similarly denounce this attack on freedom of worship, which is guaranteed in every democratic state, as well as the profanation of churches and physical aggression against the faithful and their priests.”
The statement said the bishops were “profoundly shocked by such ignoble acts,” and would demand a “serious and objective inquiry” into who was responsible.
Police used tear gas and batons against Massgoers in some of the capital’s 150 parishes and violently broke up attempted marches in which protesters demanded fresh elections in the country.
A UN spokeswoman said seven deaths had been recorded in Kinshasa, and another at Kananga.
Picture: People walk as traffic is blocked by security forces on 31st December in Kinshasa, Congo. Church leaders in Congo have expressed “profound shock” after security forces fired on Catholics protesting rule by President Joseph Kabila, leaving at least eight dead. (CNS photo/Kenny Katombe, Reuters).