West Europe

Archbishop challenges British government on response to DRC violence

Archbishop Welby challenged the British government over its response to violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in which police have attacked churches.

Speaking in the UK Parliament’s House of Lords,  Welby asked how the government was responding to “the escalating violence and suppression of peaceful protests across the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Church ministers and Christian workers have been among those arrested in the government clamp down on protests and on 12 January 2018 police fired tear gas at worshipers taking part in a church service.

Church leaders in the DRC have called for sitting president Joseph Kabila to guarantee that he will not run in elections scheduled to be held in December 2018; Kabila was constitutionally mandated to leave office in December 2016, but has clung on to power.

A government spokesman responded to Welby, stating that “the UK remains committed to supporting peaceful elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We repeatedly call on the Government to respect their citizens’ constitutional right to peaceful protest.”