Gabon Parliament Set Ablaze Amid Protest Following President Bongo’s Re-election
Angry protesters torched Gabon’s parliament Wednesday after President Ali Bongo was declared winner of what he claimed was a “peaceful and transparent” election, but which the opposition said was fraudulent.
It only took a few minutes for the announcement to sink in before several of Libreville’s poorer neighbourhoods erupted in anger, with thousands of people taking to the streets to express their fury.
As gunfire crackled across the city, at least six people were admitted to hospital with bullet wounds, AFP reporters saw. Several of the wounded said they were shot by security forces.
According to official results made public shortly after 1500 GMT, Bongo won Saturday’s presidential poll by just 5,594 votes, taking 49.80 percent to 48.23 percent for his rival Jean Ping, a veteran diplomat and former top African Union official.
The results will remain “provisional” until they are approved by the constitutional court.
By nightfall, protesters vented their fury by setting fire to the parliament building, sending skyward a plume of flame and black smoke, witnesses and AFP correspondents said.
Fires were visible in other parts of Libreville and explosions were heard as protesters faced off against heavily armed security forces.