Security forces have killed 34 protesters and arrested scores of others after they gathered on the streets of Kinshasa and other cities to demand Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila step down, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
The country is witnessing growing protests since Kabila refused to step down after his second term in office ended on Monday at midnight after 15 years in power.
He insists on staying in office until his government holds new elections in 2018.
Since clashes have already erupted between armed militias and security forces, Human Rights Watch has warned that violence may escalate if Kabila continues to insist he stay in office.
While Kabila may be willing to take extreme measures to keep his grip on power, the opposition is gaining momentum with protests happening all across the country.
Kabila came to power in 2001 after the assassination of his father.
Under the constitution, he cannot seek a third term, but a court has allowed him to stay in power until the country's elections which have been delayed.
The elections were to be held in November, but the ruling party said it needed more time to prepare and the polls cannot be held until 2018.
Marie-Roger Biloa, the chairwoman and CEO of Africa International Media Group, said it's possible the army may soon intervene.