Political protesters in Guyana clash with police

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2011 12:01 PM
Political protesters in Guyana clash with police

Police fired tear gas and rubber pellets on Tuesday to disperse about 500 protesters demanding an election recount in Guyana, a day after the home of a ruling party politician was reportedly firebombed.

Leaders of the opposition Partnership For National Unity said eight people were slightly injured in Tuesday's clash, including a 79-year-old woman, a retired army chief and the head of the party's youth movement.

David Granger, a retired army officer who won a seat in Parliament, said the protest was peaceful and said police overreacted. "There's no reason to use this level of force."

Police said eight schoolchildren also have been taken to the hospital after tear gas wafted into a nearby school that has since closed for the day.

The tightly contested Nov. 28 general elections have led to sporadic violence in the nation of 780,000 people on the northern shoulder of South America.

On Monday, police said, someone threw two homemade gasoline bombs into the home of Odinga Lumumba, a legislator and presidential adviser for the ruling People's Progressive Party, while he and his family slept. No one was reported injured.

Lumumba was involved in a heated argument with an election official when he sought to observe the voting process at a polling station on election day.

The People's Progressive Party narrowly won the election, but lost its majority in Parliament, forcing it to form a minority government. Donald Ramotar, a 61-year-old economist, was sworn in as president on Saturday.