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Gabon's parliament set on fire as riots break out amid calls to publish results

Gabon's parliament set on fire as riots break out amid calls to publish results


Gabon’s parliament has been set on fire on Wednesday after rioters stormed the capital Libreville and other cities in protest against election results.

The riots started immediately after Gabon’s Minister of Interior announced last Saturday’s election results declaring incumbent president Ali Bongo the winner.

The police earlier clashed with rioters in Libreville who were gathering on a major highway approaching the Electoral Commission office to protest against the results.

The protesters were shouting “Ali must go” as riot police supported by the military and masked gendarmes fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd, AFP reported.

The protesters were reported to have outnumbered the police as they broke barricades and burned tires.

Helicopters were hovering around the capital as more people were joining the protests, the report added.

The riots also extended to the economic capital Port-Gentil in support of main opposition candidate Jean Ping.

Widespread calls have been made for the polling station results to be published so as to ensure the transparency in the election.

Jean Ping, who lost narrowly in the election, expressed agreement with the requests made by the European Union and the United States, for the results of each polling station to be published, his communications officer in Gabon, Jean-Gasaprd Ntoutoume Ayi confirmed.

France and Brussels also added their voice to the call in statements issued immediately after the announcement of the results.

“The conditions of the announcement of results of the presidential election in Gabon are a concern. France reiterates its concern for transparency. We consider it necessary that the results of all polls are published,” French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault emphasized.

According to the official results announced on Wednesday, the incumbent president won with 49.80% of the vote ahead of the 73-year-old former African Union Commission chairman who came second with 48.23%.

Turnout was 59.46% with a recorded 356,890 votes cast. Bongo led Ping with only 5,594 votes as he garnered 177,722 votes and Ping garnered 172,128 votes.

Ali Bongo garnered 177,722 votes leading Ping, who garnered 172,128 votes, with only 5,594 votes.

The election had a turnout of 59.46% with 356,890 votes cast out of the 628,124 registered voters.