At least two civilians have been killed as violence erupted ahead of protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.
Police fired shots and tear gas to break up a Catholic mass and arrested altar boys who were among protesters gathering at the church to rally against President Joseph Kabila.
Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said two men had been killed outside the church.
#DRC: Two men shot dead outside St Alphonse church in Kinshasa’s Matete commune as security forces disperse peaceful protesters calling for Pres Kabila to step down. Heavy security force deployment and roadblocks across capital; SMS, internet access shut down @hrw pic.twitter.com/ke0A68EbQJ— Ida Sawyer (@ida_sawyer) December 31, 2017
The French news agency, AFP, reported that an officer and a youth in the suburbs of Kinshasa were also killed.
The DRC has been mired in a political crisis over Kabila's refusal to step down from power. His second and last term as president ended in December 2016.
New elections slated for 2017 have been delayed for at least one more year, fueling anger among Congolese militias and citizens.