Hundreds of schoolchildren have stormed the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) parliament building, demanding the government raise teachers’ pay to end a strike that has stopped lessons for more than two weeks.
The teachers went on strike at the start of October to protest against several issues, including salaries and the retirement age.
“We want to study,” the students in school uniform chanted as they stormed the parliament in the capital, Kinshasa, according to video footage shared on social media.
Jean-Marc Kabund, the first vice president of the National Assembly, spoke to the students, assuring them that a solution will be found soon to end the teachers’ strike.
Tony Mwaba, minister of primary, secondary and technical education, meanwhile, said dialogue with the teachers’ unions had resumed.
In the run-up to the opening of the new school term on October 4, teachers’ unions in several provinces announced their intention to go on strike to express their displeasure over meagre pay.
A threat by Mwaba to remove striking teachers from the payroll has not broken their spirit.
The standoff comes following the introduction of free public primary education, a flagship project of President Felix Tshisekedi launched in September 2019.