Paris - A failed presidential candidate in Congo-Brazzaville elections has urged a campaign of civil disobedience after a "stolen vote" by strongman Denis Sassou Nguesso.
"It is time to stop being afraid! I ask you to demand back your confiscated, stolen vote," General Jean-Marie Michel Mokoko, who came in third in the presidential election, wrote in a statement.
One of his lawyers expanded on the statement at a Paris news conference, saying it was not a call to protest.
"The opposition does not want a bloodbath. The population is being asked not to go to work. It is a general strike, a peaceful protest," said lawyer Norbert Tricaud.
Congo's opposition parties have demanded a recount after Sassou Nguesso, 72, won the election which they say was marred by "massive fraud".
The official count gave runner-up Guy-Brice Parfait Kolelas 15% of the vote, while Mokoko came in third with 14%.
"The general is not a putschist, he wants the recognition that the victory of the Congolese people has been stolen," said his representative in France, Marc Mapingou.
The European Union refused to send election observers to monitor the polls, saying conditions had not been met for a transparent and democratic vote.
Sassou Nguesso has ruled oil- and timber-rich Congo for all but five years since 1979, having lived in Paris in exile from 1992 to 1997.