DR Congo: Police beat students protesting teacher strike

In the week before striking lecturers at the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, voted to return to work, police used brutal force to break up a demonstration of angry students who were demanding resumption of their courses.

According to Le Phare in Kinshasa, police violently attacked several thousand Unikin students who were demanding an end to the academics' strike, which had lasted more than four months, so they could return to their studies.

Le Phare reported that the students set up barricades and burned tyres on the campus and outside on the main road, halting traffic. According to the newspaper, witnesses said police tore down the barricades and charged at the unarmed students.

After shooting in the air, and kicking and striking protesters, said Le Phare, "the fusillade continued with a vengeance, confusion was at its height and it was at this point a student hit by a bullet collapsed". Several students were seriously wounded, and there were unconfirmed reports that one was killed, said the paper.

The following week a general meeting of over 300 teachers at Unikin, the biggest university in the DRC, voted to accept the compromise their union, Apukin, had reached with the Ministries of Higher Education and Universities, Public Works, the Budget and Finance. A new pay scale will come into force from July, and meanwhile teachers will be paid a bonus. The agreement will apply to all university teachers in the country.