School Pupils storm DR Congo parliament over teachers’ pay

Hundreds of school children stormed parliament in the Democratic Republic of Congo, demanding higher salaries for their teachers.

The pupils waved branches and chanted “we want to study” and “if we don’t study, we will take drugs”.

A similar protest was held at the town hall of the eastern town of Beni in North Kivu region, according to the UN-owned Radio Okapi.

Teachers have been on strike since 4 October, the beginning of the school year, demanding a pay rise and a lower retirement age among other issues.

The government has accused the leaders of religious groups, who administer most primary schools, of being behind the strike. They deny this.

Addressing the students, the first vice-president of DR Congo’s national assembly, Jean-Marc Kabunda, urged them to go home saying this was not their fight:

“You do not belong in the street, you belong at school and if you are not at school, you should be at home,” he said.