Congo Polling Stations Attacked

Violence mars start of elections
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 28, 2011 4:32 AM CST
Democratic Republic of Congo Polling Stations Attacked
Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi are caught between tear gas fired by Congolese riot police and armed Presidential guardsmen at Kinshasa Airport, Nov. 26, 2011.    (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

(Newser) – Today’s presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo have gotten off to a violent start. Reuters reports that masked gunmen fired on one polling station in Lubumbashi, while locals burned down three others in a neighboring province. The AFP reports 15 burned polling stations in that opposition stronghold, and notes the unrest began when voting was delayed and got worse when residents found stuffed ballot boxes.

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Also in Lubumbashi, the AFP reports that a convoy was attacked early this morning by armed men, some of whom were injured when police escorting the jeeps opened fire. Two of the vehicles caught fire, torching about 1,000 ballots. Lubumbashi, as well as the capital city Kinshasa, has seen significant violence in advance of the elections. Voice of America reports that at least three people have been killed in the unrest, and fraud allegations have flown. Incumbent President Joseph Kabila is expected to be re-elected. (Read more Democratic Republic of Congo stories.)

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