Gabon opposition says HQ attacked by presidential guard

Cheryl Sanders
September 1, 2016

Angry protesters took to the streets shortly after the announcement, accusing the government of stealing the election.

Security forces surrounded the opposition headquarters overnight and attempted to storm the building.

"They attacked around 1:00am (0000 GMT)". It's the republican guard. He said he feared arms would be planted in his party headquarters and he could be arrested as a result.

Protesters entered the grounds of Gabon's parliament building, the National Assembly, late in the afternoon.

Demonstrators had set fire to cars and buildings, vandalized a mall and looted a bank in the capital.

A heavily military and police presence had brought large parts of Libreville to a standstill and internet access has also been cut.

Commission members belonging to the opposition abstained from a vote that validated the election result. Elections in Africa are frequently disputed but it is unusual for results to be overturned.

Bongo won 49.80 percent of votes against 48.23 percent for Ping, on a turnout of 59.46 percent, according to results given region by region by Interior Minister Pacome Moubelet Boubeya.

European Union observers criticized a "lack of transparency", and the EU called for the electoral commission to publish the results from all polling stations. "The credibility of the election as well as Gabon's global reputation are at stake", it said.

Opposition delegates in the electoral commission have vowed to fight for a recount.

Gabon's president has narrowly won re-election, election officials said Wednesday, keeping alive a family dynasty in this oil-rich Central African country that reaches back to the 1960s.

Opposition members of the Central African oil producer's electoral commission rejected Saturday's first-past-the-post election result, which would see the Bongo family's almost half-century in power extended another seven years.

"We've never seen results like these, even during the father's time", he added.

Ali Bongo was first elected in 2009 after the death of his father, Omar Bongo, who ran Gabon for 42 years.

Police had earlier fired tear gas at hundreds of opposition activists who converged near the Constitutional Court in the capital, Libreville, as army helicopters flew overhead.

A spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he called "on all political leaders to address their differences peacefully and to address any disputes they may have through existing constitutional and legal channels".

Gabon is a former French colony that has been hit by the global slump in the price of crude oil, its biggest export.

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