In Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the peaceful march of the Christians was organized on January 19th by the coordinating committee of the catholic laity, for Sunday, January 21st, 2018. By this march, we demanded the government the unfailing application of the agreement of New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2016 as well as the respect of the constitution, pledge stability and national cohesion.
On Sunday, January 21, 2018, when we arrived in our parishes, we saw the strong presence of the Rapid Intervention Police (PIR) encircling our parishes. They were numerous and heavily armed.
At the end of Mass around 09:30 or 10, we started our peaceful march, they tried to disperse us from the first steps made in front of the door of our churches using tear gas and a real bullets… There were some wounded, one of the mates died on the floor after receiving two bullets on the breasts. We were on the ground holding Rosaries, Bibles, crucifixes and twigs. 15 minutes later we were standing up to take the wounded to the emergency room. In this huge crowd, facing our executioners, who was able to stand up, dusted our clothes and then continue walking.
There were police roadblocks everywhere at each roadblock, the violence and brutality were stronger, after 45 minutes of walking the police made a barrier in front of us pushing us to turn back, we sang hymns and the priest who was heading the crowd asked the faithful to kneel and pray the Magnificat. In this precise moment, when we all knee on the ground the police began to shoot and throw tear gas in these torrents of smoking they went against the priests, the acolytes and the young people who interfered to this arrest.
And during this time, in our parishes the priests had advised against the participation in walking to people who were very old or weak by illness or other reason as well as children. They were supposed to pray a little while for those who were going to walk and get back home. However, the police imprisoned all these people in the parish; they forcibly closed from the outside all the doors of the parish obliging Christians to stayed in until 13:00. All these weak people have remained more than 6 hours in the enclosure of the parish without water or food.
On the return of the faithful at the parish to close the march, we have found the Christians close in their own parish. When we attempted to break the padlocks set by the police, not only to release those who were in but also to entered and make the final prayer, the policemen started to shoot and abused the youths, there was a great clash for nearly 30 minutes. Then people would run in all directions always under police fire, trying to follow up on those who were arrested, those who were taken home injured, others were wounded and taken to hospitals… The day was restless until 4 pm and after it was cold and anguished, around 7 pm they removed their barriers.