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World Briefing / Gabon

Protests over Bongo's victory

September 04, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Gabon's government declared Ali Bongo, son of the late dictator Omar Bongo, the winner of presidential elections, triggering the worst violence in years in the oil-rich nation.

Crowds in the coastal city of Port Gentil protesting Bongo's victory burned the French Consulate, attacked the offices of French oil giant Total and pillaged shops.

Over four decades, the Bongo family has amassed a fortune from the country's oil wealth, owning 45 homes in France and more than a dozen luxury cars.

Opposition supporters, alleging Sunday's election was stolen, turned their anger on the country's former colonial ruler, France, suspected of having propped up the dictator and meddling in the elections.

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