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Rivers Imposes Curfew as PDP, APC Hold Counter Protests

 

A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed Rivers State on Monday as tensions ran high over the presiden­tial and National Assembly election, the state government.

While some female members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) organized a street protest demand­ing the cancellation of the election result, a counter protest was orga­nized by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Commissioner for Informa­tion Ibim Semenitari said the lock-down, from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am was “to prevent the breakdown of law and order because of the tense po­litical situation”.

The state government-backed APC alleged vote-rigging by the ruling PDP with the connivance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Some 2,000 female APC support­ers attempted to register their com­plaints with electoral officials in the state capital, Port Harcourt, but were allegedly teargassed by police, according to the Agence France Presse (AFP).

Armed police and soldiers were said to have prevented the women, who were all dressed in black, from entering the offices, forcing them to disperse and reassemble at the gov­ernment headquarters.

“What happened today was un­precedented,” said APC women leader Victoria Nyeche, adding: “The police teargassed and injured some of us during a peaceful protest at INEC. “All we want is a fresh elec­tion because what happened on Sat­urday was a fraud,” she added.

A South African non-governmen­tal organisation, Pan African Wom­en Projects, which observed the elec­tions in the state, expressed anger at the teargassing of the protesters.

“We saw the women being tear­gassed and we don’t think it was a right thing to do because under the 1995 Beijing conference, women have the right to peaceful protests without any form of molestation or violence,” said Eno Ben-Udensi, from the group.

“We are going to write what hap­pened in our final report on the con­duct of the election.”

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