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Army, police break up Congo opposition protest as observer warns of a cycle of violence

Phil Moore / AFP - Getty Images

A Congolese army soldier stamps on Fabien Mutomb, provincial vice-president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), as the army and police break-up a peaceful protest in Lubumbashi, DR Congo, on Dec. 14, 2011.

Members of the Democratic Republic of Congo's opposition UDPS party marched through central Lubumbashi on Wednesday in protest against "fraud and cheating" in the November 28 election, Agence France Presse reports. Fabien Mutomb, the party's provincial vice-president, found himself on the receiving end of a soldier's boot as the army and police moved to break up the demonstration, which followed the forced closure of the party's local office.

U.S. observers from The Carter Center released a statement at the weekend expressing serious concerns about the legitimacy of the election result, which saw incumbent President Joseph Kabila declared victor at the expense of UDPS candidate Etienne Tshisekedi.

Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, who served as a monitor with the Carter Center, today urged the international community not to look the other way. If they fail to act, Dizolele writes in Foreign Policy, "An emboldened Kabila, with questionable legitimacy, will assert his power with greater popular repression, triggering a cycle of violence with untold ramifications."

Phil Moore / AFP - Getty Images

Fabien Mutomb of the UDPS calls for calm as he addresses a crowd of party supporters in Lubumbashi, after their release from an army escort following a demonstration in the city on Dec. 14, 2011.

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