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DRC nationals question arrests after Pretoria embassy protest

Nine people were arrested following a protest at the DRC embassy in Pretoria over President Joseph Kabila's refusal to step down at the end of his term.

FILE: Almost 200 Congolese nationals protested at the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy in Pretoria as part of a worldwide protest by Congolese nationals at embassies calling on their President Joseph Kabila to step down. Picture: ER24.

JOHANNESBURG - A group of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals, who clashed with police in front of their embassy in Pretoria, say they don’t understand why some of them were arrested.

Nine people were apprehended on charges ranging from malicious damage to property to public violence.

They were protesting against their President Joseph Kabila, who remains in power despite his second term having ended on Monday.

The group says they do not understand why the police were involved, as they were merely taking their grievances to their own embassy.

Protest leader Claude Kabimbi explains: “They were protesting before their own embassy of their own country.”

Police spokesperson Sally de Beer, however, says the embassy is under their protection and will act accordingly, especially during unauthorised protests.

“We can never allow protesters to storm an embassy that’s under our protection.”

Acting Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has condemned the violence at the DRC embassy.

He says South African Police Service members will remain on duty and has urged all to respect the laws of the country.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)