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Benin police fire tear gas to break up youth protest

AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei

Benin police fired tear gas to disperse youths in Cotonou on Thursday, who were protesting against the re-election of President Boni Yayi. Police said the youths were blocking the roadways and refused to clear the area.

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The several hundred youths gathered at two locations in Benin’s economic capital of Cotonou, in support of opposition candidate Adrien Houngbedji. There, they burned car tyres and held up signs labelling Yayi a “thief.”

Houngbedgi claims he won the 13 March election and alleges ballot fraud.

Benin’s constitutional court announced Monday that it approved results showing that Yayi had won in the first round of voting with 53 per cent, compared to Houngbedgi’s 36 per cent.

Houngbedgi immediately rejected the results and claimed he had won. Candidates were then given five days to appeal the vote with the courts.

While four appeals were filed on Thursday, none were in the name of any candidate, said the court’s secretary-general Sylvain Nouwatin, according to the AFP news agency.

 

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