The situation in Cotonou, Benin’s commercial capital was tense as security forces had to fire their weapons to disperse crowds who were protesting against the exclusion of opposition parties from Parliamentary elections held on Sunday.
These protests have been going on since Wednesday as protestors have been burning tires and demanding President Patrice Talon to step down. This unrest is a rare occurrence in Benin, a country that is often seen by others as a bastion of stability in West Africa.
Security forces had to use firearms and armored military vehicles to disperse the protestors. It is not clear if the security forces if live shells were used or if they were firing directly at the crowd.
The United Nations has called for restraint and asked the protestors and the government to settle the issue through talks.
“We note with concern the ongoing tensions and unrest, resulting in the destruction of property and high-handed response from the security forces,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
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