Riots rock West Africa

Togo’s main opposition leader March 7 rejected the results of a presidential poll handing a second term to incumbent Faure Gnassingbe, as hundreds of activists rallied in the capital Lome to demand justice and police responded with tear gas. Gnassingbe was returned to office in the March 4 election, defeating his main rival Jean-Pierre Fabre who took 33%, according to official results. “I have never wanted to use violence, but if I am stolen from, I will not give up the fight,” warned Fabre. “We are going to stage protests, we are not going to take this lying down.” (AFP, March 6; AFP, March 7)

Two weeks earlier, thousands of opposition supporters marched through the central Ivory Coast city of Bouake, setting ablaze cars, smashing shops and looting a local government office. The violence was the latest in a series of protests against the decision by Presdient Laurent Gbagbo to dissolve the government and the electoral commission following a dispute over voter registration. (AlJazeera, Feb. 20)

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