Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have cut the internet citing state security reasons, before a protest by Catholics against the extension of President Joseph Kabila’s rule.
SMS and WhatsApp messaging systems were gradually suspended on Saturday night a few hours from the “peaceful march” banned by the authorities.
In a letter dated December 30, the government ordered mobile telephone operators “to suspend until further notice” SMS and Internet “for reasons of State security”.
An evaluation meeting of the execution of this measure will be held on Monday, 1 January at 1.00 p.m.
“An evaluation meeting of the execution of this measure will be held on Monday, 1 January at 1.00 p.m.”, adds the letter from Minister Emery Okundjy Ndjovu.
Catholics of the “Lay Committee of Coordination” in Kinshasa rallied the faithful to walk with Bibles, rosaries and crucifix in hand, after the mass of this Sunday morning.
They want President Joseph Kabila to state publicly that he will not be a candidate for his own succession.
The army and police deployed massively in the night in the parishes of Kinshasa, the capital of some 10 million inhabitants.
The security forces reportedly also installed check points in several parts of the city, such as Lingwala. The army and the police control and search the vehicles.
These checkpoints had been working since the beginning of December but only after 21:00 at night in La Gombe, home to the presidential palace.