1,000 arrests in Gabon post-vote violence

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Thousands of angry protesters poured onto the streets of Libreville late Wednesday, accusing the government of stealing the election after Bongo won a second term by a razor-thin margin over rival Jean Ping.

His victory is set to extend the Bongo family’s almost 50-year rule over the small oil-rich nation.

Gunfire crackled across the city and plumes of smoke billowed from the torched parliament building as protesters clashed with heavily armed security forces.

Ping said two people were killed and 19 hurt in a raid against his headquarters early Thursday, and the national police chief told AFP that more than 200 people had been arrested across the city for looting.

Police reported continued pillaging in outlying districts at midday Thursday.

But by mid-morning, security forces had sealed off the city centre, which was calm and otherwise deserted, with troops, police and anti-riot squads patrolling the streets.

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