Gabon: Opposition Leader Calls for widespread Protests as Ban Ki-moon Calls for Calm


Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping called on Monday for a general strike to protest against what he said was a fraudulent re-election victory by President Ali Bongo.

Ping, who says he is now the leader of the Central African oil producer, said in a statement on his website that his fight was not over, even as calm returned to the capital following deadly riots last week.

“I ask you from today onward not to use violence but to resist by blocking the country’s economy,” he said, addressing all Gabonese.

“I propose to cease all activity and begin a general strike,” he added.

At least six people were killed and more than 1,000 arrested in violence after Wednesday’s announcement of a slim vote victory for Bongo, whose family has run Gabon for half a century.

In the capital Libreville traffic began to pick up along the main boulevards on Monday and it was not immediately clear whether Ping’s call to strike was being heeded.

Bongo has dismissed all allegations of vote fixing.

Meanwhile UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke over the phone with both warring leaders on Sunday urged them to end to violence.

“The Secretary-General deplored the loss of life that occurred during the demonstrations in the aftermath of the presidential election. He expressed concern about the continuing inflammatory messages being disseminated and called for an immediate end to all acts of violence in the country,” according to a statement from Ban Ki-moon’s office.

The U.N. Secretary General also requested that his Special Representative for Central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily, continue to work with the parties in order to defuse tensions.

“Ban Ki-moon reiterated his call to President Bongo to impress upon the government the need to show restraint. He also urged Ping to issue a clear message to his followers calling on them to refrain from any acts of violence in the interest of the country and of national unity,” the statement read.

According to reports, 27 people who were detained in Ping’s headquarters campaign have been released.

Ban Ki-moon, however, stressed the importance of peaceful and legal means to seek a resolution in the outcome of the presidential election.