News24

Political rally in Gabon

2012-08-26 13:34

Libreville - Gabon's outlawed National Union (UN) opposition party on Saturday held a rally of 1 500 people demanding a national conference to call for sweeping reforms.

The call came ten days after one person died and 57 others were arrested when violence erupted after police stopped an unauthorised protest in support of UN leader Andre Mba Obame, who claims he won a 2009 election against current President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

An opposition party close to the UN also called for a national conference and a new constitution in early July.

But the Gabon presidency dismissed the request as unjustified.

"Today's rally is once again a ploy by Andre Mba Obame to exploit young people and incite them to violence," the presidency said on Saturday.

Mba Obame, a former member of the ruling party who defected to the opposition, left Gabon in 2011 after declaring himself elected head of state, refusing to recognise the electoral victory of Ali Bongo in 2009.

His UN party was subsequently dissolved and therefore does not have the right to organise demonstrations. He returned to the country on 11 August.