Congolese protest opposite embassy in Gray’s Inn Road

DSCF4119 DSCF4120The busy one-way stretch of Gray's Inn Road in King's Cross was awash with fluorescent yellow today at 4.30pm, as a clutch of police officers and two riot vans kept an eye on 50 or so protesters on the footway on the opposite side of the road to the Democratic Republic of Congo's embassy.

The protesters, vocal put peaceful, held placards reading 'Armand Tungulu: Congolese people will never forget' and 'Change in DRC will come after Kabila's departure'. According to international news sources, Armand Tungulu, a 30-year-old Congolese resident of Belgium, was found dead in his Kinshasa detention cell on Oct 2, days after being arrested for allegedly throwing stones at the Congo president's motorcade. The DRC's prosecutor's office have called it a 'suicide', international NGOs have strongly questioned this and called for an immediate investigation. Earlier this year, prominent Congolese human rights campaigner, Floribert Chebeya, was found dead in suspicious circumstances in Kinshasa.

The protesters also made use of the road space, driving a Mercedes down Gray's Inn Road, with a man standing up through the sunroof — presumably a reference to the Congolese president's motor convoy incident.

The embassy is not much more than a (perpetually closed) roller-shuttered shopfront, the only clue to its status is a flag. The only embassy in King's Cross, it is almost constantly guarded by a police officer. Asked why, a protester said, "We don't want the ambassador here, he represents Kabila — he has good reason to fear attack from Congolese people here."

Clare Hill

About Clare Hill

Clare is a writer and editor who lived in King’s Cross for a decade. She is passionate about local history, transport and food. Contact Clare by commenting on her posts or go to http://www.clarehill.net
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