“I think this campaign might produce some surprises : even minorities refuse to obey the imposed order!” In a video posted with this message on the Facebook page “We love France“, a man shouts to a crowd of French people originating from the Democratic Republic of Congo: “We are going to vote“, and the crowd replies: “Le Pen”, after booing the names of politicians François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. But the video is not linked to the current presidential election: it’s from a demonstration on January 21st, 2012, the year in which the last presidential election took place, and the man with the megaphone today says that he had only wanted to be provocative.
The demonstration took place in Paris one month after Congolese president Joseph Kabila won a vote in 2011 – a result contested by the leader of the opposition, Etienne Tshisekedi. “It was like an inter-generational march: there were a lot of children. And even though the French election was in May, this meeting had nothing to do with politics at the start”, said one of the demonstration’s organisers, Youyou Muntu Musi (spokesperson for the RD Congo France collective), to a journalist of Les Observateurs de France 24, a media partner of CrossCheck. Indeed many children do appear in another video of the demonstration (scroll to approximately 2.35 minutes).
The man rousing the crowd with the megaphone is Francis Mondombo. At the time he was a member of a group opposed to Joseph Kabila, the ‘Resistant Fighters of Congo’. “When I shouted that (regarding Le Pen), it was just a provocation”, he told a journalist of Les Observateurs. “It was a warning, in order to criticize the fact that traditional parties didn’t want to take a position on French Africa and what was happening in the Democratic Republic of Congo [the reelection of Joseph Kabila]. It was as if I had said something like “If you don’t respect us, we’re going to vote for extreme political parties…At that time, some friends had blamed me for playing along with the Front National. But it was just to get a message across. Moreover, I didn’t vote for the Front National. With retrospect, when I see how this video is now going viral, I deeply regret those words”.