"Hundreds of people threw stones and burned tyres, and tried to set up at least one barricade. There were also protests in the eastern city of Goma. Conflicting reports say there were a number of fatalities, possibly as high as 13," Euronews reported.
Reports say the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has blocked Internet and SMS service in Kinshasa and Goma, as the Senate prepares to pass an amended version of electoral law.
Internet and SMS services blocked in Goma and Kinshasa as #DRC Senate seats to discuss electoral law.— Arnold Kwizera (@TherealKwizera) 20 января 2015
In accordance with the revised law, both presidential and parliamentary elections would be delayed beyond 2016, allowing Joseph Kaliba, the president of the country, to stay in power, Agence France-Presse elaborates. The lower house of Congo’s parliament passed the amended version on Saturday, January 17, by 337 votes to eight, with 24 abstentions.
Enraged by the new electoral bill, protesters took to the streets of Kinshasa on Monday, January 19, prompting police and the Republican Guard to seal off the area around the parliament building. Law enforcerment also blocked the headquarters of the Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC), one of the country's biggest opposition parties, after its members called upon Kinshasa civilians "to occupy" parliament.
"It is impounding of democracy by the political allies of Mr Kabila," UNC president Vital Kamerhe claimed as cited by Agence France-Presse.
At least four people were killed during massive clashes in Kinshasa on Monday, reports say, adding that on Tuesday the riots have continued in the capital and in the eastern city of Goma.
It is worth mentioning that in recent months presidents of several African states have made attempts to expand their power through constitutional changes, provoking fierce protests from their opposition.