Protests broke out in DR Congo’s eastern city of Goma on Monday, July 25 with residents storming the United Nations base demanding the departure of UN peacekeepers. Several videos and photos show hundreds of people blocking roads and chanting anti-UN slogans before storming the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping mission and its logistical base, smashing windows and looting computers, furniture and other valuables. Congolese troops were also seen carrying loot. UN police officers fired tear gas in a bid to push the demonstrators back. Protesters claim the UN mission has been part of the insecurity problems in eastern DR Congo instead of providing a solution. The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has long come under criticism for its perceived inability to bring about peace to the conflict-torn region. The force is also said to be running on a hefty budget of US$1.4 billion annually with little or no impact on the ground. Over 120 armed groups roam the volatile eastern region of DR Congo, where conflict has displaced millions of people. Reacting to the protests, DR Congo government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya tweeted, “The Government is closely monitoring the situation at Goma following the call to demonstrate against MONUSCO. “We strongly condemn any form of attack against United Nations personnel and facilities. Those responsible will be prosecuted and severely punished.” Hours later, as tension escalated, Muyaya posted another tweet saying: “The process of withdrawing MONUSCO has already been initiated. “Pending its completion, the Government will respect each of its commitments contained in the agreement which binds us, in particular with regard to the security of its personnel and its installations.” Meanwhile, ahead of Mondays protests, the Goma youth wing of the ruling UDPS party released a statement demanding MONUSCO “withdrawal from Congolese soil without conditions because it has already proved its incapacity to provide us with protection”. Monday’s events follow the call by DR Congo’s Senate president Modeste Bahati, on July 15, for MONUSCO to pack its bags.