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DR Congo opposition calls for mass protests

Opposition leader in Congo calls for a mass protest to support the victory he claims to have won in disputed presidential polls

AFP , Wednesday 14 Dec 2011
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Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi's party called Wednesday for mass protests to "protect" the victory he claims to have won in disputed presidential polls.

Jacquemin Shabani, secretary general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, made the call for "peaceful and democratic demonstrations" without giving a time or place.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) on Friday declared President Joseph Kabila the winner of the November 28 vote, provoking violent protests and looting in the capital and calls from opposition leaders for the international community to intervene.

The European Union, the Carter Center and other election monitors have voiced serious concern about the credibility of the polls, citing problems in the vote count and the loss of huge numbers of ballots.

Kabila, in power since 2001, took 49 percent of the vote to 32 percent for Tshisekedi, his top rival, according to the CENI's tally.

Tshisekedi immediately rejected the result and declared himself president.

Police stopped opposition supporters from marching Tuesday in the eastern cities of Bukavu and Goma, whose mayors had banned protests, and the elite presidential guard dispersed another Wednesday at Lubumbashi, in the southeast, injuring several people.

The supreme court, which is charged with hearing election disputes, is scheduled to name the official winner on Saturday.

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