A demonstration of students denouncing an increase in tuition fees was dispersed on Monday by police on the campus of the University of Kinshasa, the largest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, police said.
« The police fired tear gas because a group of students attempted to leave the campus of the University of Kinshasa. As long as they demonstrate inside the campus, we will not intervene, « General Sylvano Kasongo, police chief of Kinshasa, told AFP.
« But if they leave the campus in order to give bandits from surrounding neighborhoods the possibility of disturbing public order without the express authorization of the city governor, we will prevent them, » added the officer.
Students denounce the increase in their academic fees, caused by the application of a rate of conversion of the Congolese franc (FC) against the dollar which they consider unfavorable.
“We protest against the increase in the rate (from 920 to 1,700 Congolese francs against one dollar) for the payment of academic fees. This morning the police deployed several agents, they threw tear gas, « Pierre Kakule told AFP.
Last year, academic fees were set at 253,000 Congolese francs ($ 275 at the rate of 920 FC per dollar). This amount increased this year to 485,000 FC (or 285 dollars with the new rate of 1,700 FC the dollar).
Students demand payment of fees at the old rate that « benefits us, especially since there is no scholarship in this country, » said Kakule.
On the market, the Congolese franc experienced a devaluation of 10% in one year, the rate went from 1,600 to 1,700 FC the dollar.