DRC faces electoral standoff

2011-12-10 12:01
Kinshasa - The DRC faced a tense electoral standoff on Saturday after incumbent Joseph Kabila was named the winner of last week's polls and rival Etienne Tshisekedi rejected the results, declaring himself president.

After the election commission said Kabila had won the November 28 polls with 49% of the vote to 32% for Tshisekedi, violent protests erupted in several neighbourhoods of the capital Kinshasa.

Protesters set cars and piles of tyres on fire and threw stones at police, who used teargas and fired shots in the air.

Some looting was reported in several neighbourhoods, and at least one person was shot and wounded.

But a heavy security force presence - police and presidential guards had been out in force all week, and 20 000 soldiers were on standby at military bases - put down the initial protests and stopped them from spreading.

There were no reports of major violence overnight, and downtown looked calm early on Saturday morning. The charred remains of the previous day's fires dotted the northwest of the city, but the streets were nearly empty except for police and soldiers.

Protests also broke out Friday in the central city of Kananga, a Tshisekedi stronghold, but as in Kinshasa police quashed initial demonstrations, according to reports.

Analysts had warned that the elections, just the second since back-to-back wars from 1996 to 2003, risked unleashing new violence in the vast central African country.
Read more on:    joseph kabila  |  etienne tshisekedi  |  drc  |  drc elections

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