Violence Roils Congo After Disputed Vote

Opposition leader says results fixed, declares himself victor
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2011 6:19 AM CST
Violence Roils Congo After Disputed Vote
Supporters of Congolese president Joseph Kabila take to the streets in jubilation in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

With opposition leaders rejecting yesterday's re-election win for Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, fighting and unrest has broken out in Kinshasa and threatened to plunge the fragile African country back into war, reports Al Jazeera. Protesters burned tires and gunshots rang out last night in the capital, as opposition supporters threw rocks at police and clashed with security forces. "[The results] are no reason to whip up the population against the established order to contest the results, or to settle scores," said the head of the election commission, who pleaded for peace.

"I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people," said opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi,who pulled in 32% of the 18 million votes cast, versus 49% for Kabila. "As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo." One government minister called Tshisekedi's statements "nonsense and illogical," but election observers and opposition groups noted there were many irregularities in election results. The government's vote-rigging was "a fundamental mark of disrespect for Congolese voters," said an American election monitor. The Congo's Supreme Court is set to hear disputes and declare a winner on Dec. 17. (More Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

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