Benin police break up protest against president’s win


Benin security forces fired tear gas and used batons to break up a demonstration against the re-election of President Boni Yayi for a second term, injuring more than two dozen people, witnesses say.

Some 5,000 people had gathered in the West African country’s capital, yesterday burning tires and shouting slogans claiming the March 13 vote was rigged. Some held placards in support of opposition candidate Adrien Houngbedji, who came second in the vote according to official results ratified by Benin’s highest court. International observers said the vote was credible despite some failings, but Houngbedji said there had been widespread ballot-stuffing.

Benin authorities condemned the protest. “If people want to contest the results of the elections, there are ways to do that legally. Democracy is not anarchy,” Joseph Gnonlonfoun, head of the national electoral commission, told state television. A top regional cotton producer with a population of 9 million, Benin is one of the few countries in Africa’s “coup belt” to have successfully held free and fair elections.

Benin’s constitutional court said Yaji was re-elected with 53.13 percent against 35.64 percent for Houngbedji.

Pic: Benin soldiers during riot-control training.