The police in Kinshasa suppressed a pro-Russian protest

The Democratic Republic of the Congo saw protests before President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit.

According to reports, a small group of Congolese protested on Wednesday in front of the French embassy in Kinshasa to oppose French President Emmanuel Macron’s planned visit.

“Macron assassin” or “Macron get out” were some of the demonstrators’ chants, while some waved Russian flags.

“Rwanda has been waging war against us for over 25 years, killing over 40 million people, and France took no action. They supposed Mr. Macron would like to visit us to express his sympathy.”

According to a French official statement, the purpose of the trip was to fortify bilateral ties in the zone of influence, where competition between China and Russia is becoming more apparent.

Sputnik, a Russian news outlet, reported last week on a procession of vehicles in Kinshasa flying the Russian flag.

On Saturday, police dispersed a march against Emmanuel Macron as the French President visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo to mend strained relations with Kinshasa.

Many demonstrators held aloft Russian flags, and one cried for “help us, Mr. Putin,” with anti-French feelings running high in the region and Russian and Chinese influence expanding.

“We marched against the French president because he supports the Rwandan army. We don’t want him in our country,” said Emmanuel Jules Kayembe, an activist with the “amis de Bruno Mimbenga” group. “Unfortunately, we were chased by the police, I ran, and other demonstrators were imprisoned,” he added.

Russian influence in Africa

Following the invasion, access to Russian official media was either limited or prohibited on all popular social media platforms. As opposed to this, Russosphère immediately started using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Telegram and VK, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook.

The finding comes at a time when relations between France and several African countries rapidly deteriorate, which analysts partly ascribe to the Kremlin’s influence and a rising pro-Russian mood fueled by propaganda.

It is challenging to evaluate the effects of individual disinformation tactics. Still, analysts claim that the pro-Russian narrative is being magnified by local influencers that Russia has fostered in Africa.

Protesters in Burkina Faso assaulted the French embassy and called for more significant ties between Moscow and Ouagadougou.

Macron’s trip to counter Russia and China

As the continent became a new theater of international conflict with the rise of Chinese and Russian power, the anti-French sentiment was influential in some former French colonies in Africa.

Macron declared on Thursday that the period of French meddling in Africa was over and that there was no desire to return to that time.

Russian mercenaries from the Kremlin-linked military contractor Wagner are currently operating in Mali and the Central African Republic, where they have been accused of violating human rights. Russia is providing security support to governments that feel threatened or isolated from the international community to regain the influence it lost during the Cold War era.

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