Leopoldville, Sunday, July 24, - and it was the first Sunday since the July 6 rebellion of the Congolese Force Publique that the city once again seemed peaceful and quiet.
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Background: Leopoldville, Sunday, July 24, - and it was the first Sunday since the July 6 rebellion of the Congolese Force Publique that the city once again seemed peaceful and quiet.
Outside cafes, Europeans who had not joined in the mass exodus, sat and chatted about the situation, while Congolese did likewise. Shops and local factories had re-opened three or four days earlier. They had all been closed and all work ceased - bringing complete paralysis to the city - during the disturbances.
With Belgian lives threatened by mutinous and unruly Congolese, more paratroops had been flown in from Belgium. A second wave of troops case as the UN emergency force arrived - to be cheered by the native Congolese, and regarded with polite restraint by Belgians.
Premier Lumumba's departure for the UN in New York and an announcement that he had found in the USA new sources of funds for helping the Congo injected a note of confidence into the Leopoldville atmosphere, where even so the future looked all too uncertain. With the national economy still at a virtual standstill and with unemployment a serious threat to public order, there was the feat that hungry native crowds would swarm through Leopoldville stealing all the food and valuables they could lay their hands on. If unemployment grew, the state would not be able to feed the growing number of hungry Congolese mouths.
Sellers of African souvenirs were trading again - sculptured ivory and Moroccan bags were again being sold. But in the food markets trade was less brisk - and Europeans were (understandably) absent from the city streets. Outside the protestant church, a few English and Americans chat after the service, before dispersing and going home.