Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Liberia violence breaks out before election

Liberia's presidential election has been thrown into deadly chaos after at least two people were shot dead during volatile scenes outside the headquarters of a candidate who has called for a boycott of Tuesday's vote.

Supporters of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) party candidate, Winston Tubman, clashed with police near his beachfront offices. Armed police responded with live rounds and teargas, killing at least one person. Tubman and his running mate, the former footballer George Weah, were trapped inside the building suffused with teargas for much of the day. "We are not only sad, we are very disappointed," Weah told the Guardian. "We were holding a peaceful rally and live bullets were used. To see people being killed is shocking. We are here trapped and unarmed and they keep shooting teargas. This is wrong."

Later, a Guardian correspondent witnessed a second protester being shot in the head at point-blank range by a Liberian police officer. The man, who was not armed, died immediately. An air of stunned shock hung over the incident in the searing tropical afternoon.

To read more, please go to the Guardian's website.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Liberia's heated election and fears of media crackdown

People are in the streets singing and dancing.

Motorbike drivers, sometimes carrying as many as four passengers, are racing up and down the roads, horns blaring. Street sellers, taking advantage of the crowds, are plying their wares - bananas, groundnuts and pouches of cold water.

They have been waiting for hours for their hero - the world football legend George Weah. He is the vice-presidential candidate for the main opposition party, the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). Winston Tubman is running for president on the same ticket.

Today, they are on their way here to Ganta in the north-east of Liberia to campaign and the excitement is mounting.

"They're coming," someone shouts suddenly.

Everyone rushes to see the convoy arrive. But in the mayhem, a man gets knocked down by one of the CDC cars. I join other journalists by the podium where the visitors will speak, and it is here where I see, at first hand, attempts to stifle the press.A Liberian journalist starts taking pictures of him lying on the ground covered in blood. This will be the story in all the papers tomorrow.

To read more, please go to the BBC website.

BBC's From Our Own Correspondent dispatch from Liberia

Tamasin Ford finds worries about intimidation and attacks on journalists as the country prepares for a general election. To hear this report, click on this link.