Deadly clashes overshadow Liberian presidential vote


Deadly clashes last night between opposition supporters and riot police in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, have raised fears today's elections could be overshadowed by more violence, with the presidential challenger warning the country could tip into chaos

The incumbent President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, is poised for re-election, but at least one person was killed and several others injured after hundreds of protestors from Winston Tubman's CDC party squared up to security forces and UN peacekeepers, hurling stones and calling for a boycott of today's second-round vote. At the CDC party headquarters, the epicentre of the violence, the body of a young man lay in a pool of blood yesterday and four others screamed in pain with what looked like bullet wounds.

Mr Tubman, who is Ms Johnson-Sirleaf's only challenger in the run-off, withdrew from the race last week claiming "massive fraud" on the part of the national election committee – even though 800 international election observers pronounced the first round on 11 October free and fair.

Analysts say it is a ploy intended to stain the legitimacy of the election and create a credibility problem for the president. "It's motivated by the fact [Tubman and his party] think they don't have a chance," said the International Crisis Group's West Africa Director, Gilles Yabi.

Any lingering hopes Mr Tubman may have nursed of victory evaporated soon after the initial ballot, when third-placed challenger Prince Johnson – a notorious warlord once caught on video ordering the torture of a political rival – threw his weight behind Ms Johnson-Sirleaf's candidacy, bringing with him 12 per cent of the vote.

Mr Tubman, a 70-year-old Harvard-trained lawyer who was once a UN envoy, cried foul and called for a delay to the run-off. "Something was done to the figures, they were doctored, they were changed, they were altered. That is our belief," Mr Tubman claimed. "The impact on the region would be huge if we were to descend into chaos again."

Mr Tubman's stance and the accompanying rhetoric, in which he has invoked the spectre of Liberia's civil war-has drawn criticism from abroad, with the UN calling his actions "deeply concerning" and the head of the African Union observer mission saying pointedly that: "Political leaders must be prepared to win or lose."

Ms Johnson-Sirleaf, a recipient of the Nobel peace prize, said: "I know nobody in this country, no matter what the rhetoric, really wants us to go back to war."

Suggested Topics
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam