The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to 80 million people. Its land is so vast that a peat bog the size of England was discovered just four years ago. Yet, despite geographic distance, road inaccessibility, language diversity and internet blackouts, Congolese activists across the country — with the help of Catholic lay leaders — have coordinated dispersed marches and prayers against dictator Joseph Kabila, who continues to lead the country despite his last term having expired in December 2016.
Since the final days of 2017, Kabila’s security personnel have been filling churches with tear gas and administering bloody crackdowns, resulting in hundreds of cases of politically motivated arrests, torture and assassinations. Following a Mass last Saturday, Rev. Sebastian Yebo was beaten and kidnapped by police. Amidst this severe repression, organizers are not only relying on their Congolese neighbors who must incur enormous risks simply to attend worship services, but also their international solidarity network.
“The first tactic is to mobilize people to join our struggle even if they are not Congolese,” activist Sylva Mbikayi said. “African brothers and sisters, and those of the rest of the world, can put pressure on the regime, by calling on Kabila to step down.”
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