On 19th December 2016 – the final day of Kabila’s constitutionally limited two-term mandate – long-anticipated protests erupted across the country, particularly in several Kinshasa neighbourhoods. In the Kinshasa districts of Kalamu, Matete and Lingwala, and at Kinshasa University, protestors blew whistles and burned tyres to demonstrate their aversion to a sustained Kabila mandate. As expected there was a heavy military and police presence in all major cities across the country, with roadblocks on main roads and roundabouts. Citizens were also stopped and questioned at several impromptu checkpoints, and their money and mobile phones confiscated (HRW, 20.12.2016).

Small anti-government protests were staged across the country, particularly in the eastern city of Goma, where at least 80 activists – according to International Business Times (20.12.2016) - were arrested for merely wearing red clothing (a reference to the “red card” used by soccer referees). 19 others were arrested in Bunyakiri (South Kivu); however, they were reportedly released several hours later. Notably, Kabila’s Republican Guard (GR) – a key tool in his repression of dissention – arrested prominent opposition activist and President of the Movement of Progressive Lumumbists (MLP) party, Franc Diongo, in Kinshasa, according to Kabila's chief diplomat, Barnabe Kikaya (Reuters, 19.12.2016). The GR also allegedly conducted door-to-door searches arresting youths.