At least 7 killed in anti-UN protests in Congo's Goma

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - At least six protesters and one policeman were killed in the eastern Congolese city of Goma on Wednesday when a demonstration against the U.N. peacekeeping mission and other foreign organisations turned violent, the Congolese army said.

Since 2022, the United Nations MONUSCO mission has faced protests spurred partly by complaints that the peacekeepers have failed to protect civilians against years of militia violence.

Organisers had called for the demonstration to be peaceful, but images circulating on social media showed men and women in civilian clothes armed with sticks and stones beating a policeman tied up on the ground. Reuters was unable to verify the images and footage independently.

The Congolese army said in a statement that six protesters had been killed in the ensuing violence and 158 were arrested.

A U.N. source said the death toll was at least eight, including two soldiers and a policeman.

An anti-MONUSCO protest in July 2022 resulted in more than 15 deaths, including three peacekeepers in Goma and the city of Butembo.

Years of rebel conflict and recurrent natural disasters have helped fuel a humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo. Around 5.5 million are displaced in Goma's province of North Kivu and neighbouring provinces, according to U.N. figures.

(Reporting Djaffar Al Katanty, Erikas Mwisi Kambale and Fiston Mahamba; Writing by Sonia Rolley; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian and Grant McCool)