Zambian police teargas opposition

2015-01-21 16:56
Zambia's opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema stands next to supporters at the Lusaka magistrate court. (Joseph Mwenda, AFP)

Zambia's opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema stands next to supporters at the Lusaka magistrate court. (Joseph Mwenda, AFP)

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Lusaka - Zambian police fired tear gas on Wednesday to disperse around 100 supporters of the leading opposition candidate in the presidential election as they waited for results of the closely-fought race.

A number of Hakainde Hichilema's United Party for National Development supporters were arrested and bundled into a police van, an AFP reporter saw.

The group had kept a vigil outside a conference centre in Lusaka where the first batch of official results from Tuesday's vote were expected to be released.

But the electoral commission suspended the announcement of the results after extending the vote for a day because heavy rains had prevented polling officials reaching some remote areas.

Police initially asked the supporters to disperse but one of them shouted back at the officers, who then drove them off with batons and tear gas.

It is a traditional practice for supporters of a party that thinks it is winning an election in Zambia to gather outside the results venue waiting for the announcement

In several previous cases party supporters have also been removed forcibly with the use of tear gas.

Hichilema is seen as the main challenger to ruling Patriotic Front party candidate Edgar Lungu, in the contest to win the presidency after the death in office of Michael Sata last October.

Read more on:    patriotic front  |  upnd  |  hakainde hichilema  |  edgar lungu  |  zambia  |  southern africa  |  zambia elections 2015

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