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Protesters march in Mozambique, call for justice over killing of prominent lawyer

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MAPUTO, Mozambique — Thousands of protesters marched in the Mozambican cities of Maputo and Beira on Saturday, demanding answers over the killing of a prominent lawyer.

The marches were a call for justice, said Joao Mouzinho, a member of the Defiance Agenda civic group and a student of slain constitutional lawyer Gilles Cistac.

In the capital Maputo, civil society organizations and students began their procession at the spot where Cistac was killed, some of them wearing T-shirts with the words "Rest in Peace Gilles Cistac," or carrying placards calling for freedom of expression and democracy.

Cistac was killed on Tuesday when gunmen fired on the car he was in. A Mozambican of French origin, Cistac was an academic who called for more autonomy in Mozambique's provinces.

The demonstrations on Saturday were a second attempt to protest Cistac's death. Earlier this week, armed police prevented a march by students and lecturers from Catholic University and the Alberto Chipande Higher Institute of Science and Technology in Beira, Mozambican news agency AIM reported.

Protesters said the marches had no political agenda. Frelimo, the ruling party, condemned speculation in the Mozambican media that Frelimo members were behind the assassination, releasing a statement earlier this week.

Mozambique's central provinces experienced sporadic violence until a peace accord was signed weeks before a national election in October. The violence stemmed from tension between Frelimo and Renamo, the former civil war rebel group that is now the opposition party. Renamo has pushed for more autonomy of the provinces.

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