Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

These Images Of Gabonese Protesters Confronting Riot Police Are Iconic

Gabonese people took to the streets on Wednesday to protest what they claim is a rigged election result that leaves President Ali Bongo in power.

Posted on August 31, 2016, at 5:22 p.m. ET

Last Saturday, the West African country of Gabon held presidential elections to determine whether to keep President Ali Bongo in office for a second term.

The Bongo family has ruled the country for nearly half a century; Ali's father, Omar Bongo, took office back in 1967 and retained the presidency until his death in 2009.
Steve Jordan / AFP / Getty Images

The Bongo family has ruled the country for nearly half a century; Ali's father, Omar Bongo, took office back in 1967 and retained the presidency until his death in 2009.

After a delay, the country's interior minister on Wednesday announced that Bongo had won by an extremely slim margin: 49.8% compared to the 48.2% his main rival, Jean Ping, received.

Steve Jordan / AFP / Getty Images

Ping, a longtime diplomat and representative of Gabon at the UN and other forums, has rejected the results of the election and declared himself the winner of the vote before the results were announced.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

Ping's supporters were also quick to point out that even though the country had an overall turnout rate of 59.6%, turnout in Bongo's home region was suspiciously high: 99.3%.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

They took to the streets in protest, where riot police quickly attempted to delay them on their march to Gabon's electoral commission headquarters.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

That the results are still provisional until approved by the constitutional court didn't hamper the fervor of the protesters, who chanted "Ali must go!"

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

Some protesters set fire to Gabon's Parliament building on Wednesday night. "Fires were visible in other parts of Libreville and explosions were heard as protesters faced off against heavily armed security forces," AFP reported.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

There are no estimates yet as to just how many people were injured in the clashes between police and opposition supporters.

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

The United States, European Union, and France have all called for calm in the former French colony. The US Embassy in Libreville, the country's capital, praised the election's process and pointed out its "many systemic deficiencies and irregularities."

Marco Longari / AFP / Getty Images

ADVERTISEMENT