Protesters Set Fire to Parliament Building – Witnesses

Supporters of Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping have clashed with security forces in the capital Libreville, after incumbent President Ali Bongo was named the winner of a closely fought presidential election.
Moments after the poll results were announced by the interior ministry on Wednesday, anti-government protesters shouting “Ali must go!” tried to storm the offices of the election commission, according to AFP news agency.

Security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to push several hundred protesters back. Bongo won 49.80 percent of Saturday’s vote, against 48.23 percent for Ping, a narrow margin of only 5,594 votes of a total 627,805 registered voters.

Election commission members belonging to the opposition immediately denounced the result, with one commissioner for Ping’s party, Paul Marie Gondjout, saying the vote had been “stolen”.

“They say [Ping’s camp] they will not accept this result at all,” Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi, reporting from inside the compound housing the electoral commission in Libreville, said.
“Protesters came right outside this compound; many of them lighting tyres and chanting anti-government songs,” our correspondent said.

According to Saharareporters, Citizen reports on social media and images began emerging online showing the country’s parliament engulfed in flames a little more than an hour ago. The fire has since beenconfirmed by international news agencies with correspondents in Gabon.

Akwasi Sarpong, a reporter for BBC Africa, reported that the Gabonese military in the capital city has “withdrawn from the precincts of Gabon’s parliament which was set ablaze by
protesters.”

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