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Violence Breaks Out in Guinea-Bissau Election Aftermath


At least two people have been reported killed and several injured in Guinea-Bissau during clashes between demonstrators and police following the release of election results.

Guinea Bissau troops sit in front of the electoral commission offices as they guard ballot boxes
Police used live bullets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of stone throwing youths in the capital, Bissau.

The interior ministry condemned the protesters, saying they were not allowed to march during this delicate time of vote counting.

Journalist Oumar Gaye says the protesters are supporters of former leader Kumba Yala, who according to preliminary results from the June 19 vote, failed to make it to the second round. Mr. Yala's party is the Social Renewal Party, PRS.

"The PRS guys, the PRS members were on the streets demonstrating, asking for the victory back. They are chanting, singing in a loud voice, saying they really want their victory back, because they think Kumba Yala has won the election," said Mr. Gaye.

Also Friday, the party's secretary-general, Artur Sanha, was taken into police custody for questioning.

A party supporter says the protesters want to appeal the result, because they say they have discovered more and more evidence of cheating.

"It's more irregularities than we have been saying before. And, now, we want to say, nobody can announce the results. We are not accepting the results," he said.

He says he fears it could have been a sham first round to eliminate Mr. Yala.

"These results are false, because these results have just been prepared for who they want to win. They prepare these results to make the parties who are on top win," he added.

Electoral officials have denied any wrongdoing, and international observers have said the voting process was fair.

If the provisional results are made official, former interim leader Malam Sanha will face former military ruler Joao Bernardo Vieira in a runoff in three weeks.

Mr. Yala trounced Mr. Sanha in elections in 1999, but was later deposed in a bloodless military coup, amid mounting corruption. During the run-up to the vote, he briefly occupied the presidential palace, saying he was still the rightful leader and that the elections should be canceled.

Many voters said they hoped a successful election could end years of misrule and poverty in the former Portuguese colony.

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