40 killed in Congo this week amid protests, UN official says

The U.N. human rights chief is denouncing violent repression by Congolese security forces against crowds protesting against President Joseph Kabila, saying 40 people have been killed over the past week.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein is urging Congo's police, defense and other security forces to use restraint, saying the "heavy-handed and irresponsible response to demonstrations risks provoking violence in return by demonstrators."

The U.N. human rights office says bloody incidents took place in the capital, Kinshasa, the southeastern city of Lubumbashi and beyond.

Kabila's mandate expired Monday, though a court has ruled he can stay in office until new elections can be held.