Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi on Friday called for a general strike in his nation next week over presidential elections which he claims were marred by fraud.
"On Monday, we need to have a general strike across the national territory until further notice," said Tshisekedi, who has proclaimed himself president-elect.
Congolese police had barred Tshisekedi, 78, from leaving his neighbourhood in Kinshasa on Thursday and used tear gas to disperse his supporters, who had come to accompany him to the presidential palace.
"I tried to leave my house to go to the Palace of the Nation, where I was supposed to take office as president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. As soon as I left my house, I was stopped," he said. These mercenaries were very nasty to me. They even fired live rounds at my car. I was forced to return home."
Tshisekedi: “Troops must arrest Kabila”
Tshisekedi finished second to President Joseph Kabila in the November 28 election. Results gave 49 percent of the vote to the incumbent and 32 percent to the challenger from the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS).
The opposition leader called on Congolese troops to arrest Kabila "wherever he may be and bring him to me alive and tied-up so that we can prosecute him for the crimes he committed on Congolese soil."
Tshisekedi added that any diplomat who went to present New Year wishes to Kabila should be considered "from an enemy nation of the Congolese people."
The UDPS leader has denounced widespread fraud in both the presidential and parliamentary polls, which were held simultaneously in November. Foreign and Congolese observer teams have also reported irregularities, along with the Congolese Roman Catholic Church.
Kabila's party is leading the race for parliamentary seats, according to a provisional tally of the November vote released overnight. The president's PPRD party has captured 58 of the 432 seats counted so far in the 500-seat parliament, according to the provisional figures seen by AFP. UDPS was second with 34 seats.
The PPRD party had won 111 seats in the last elections in 2006, which the UDPS boycotted. Kabila has been in power since January 2001.
Remaining figures next Monday
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is expected to unveil the remaining figures on Monday next week - having announced on Tuesday it was postponing the announcement, due Thursday, "until further notice".
Tshisekedi on January 20 announced he would take up his "active functions" that day. On Sunday, police prevented him from leaving his home and on subsequent days have stopped his aides from going in and talking to him.