MAPUTO (Reuters) – Police suppressed violent protests in Mozambique on Friday as opposition supporters took to the streets to decry the results of local elections earlier this month which they say were rigged.
Nine civilians and one police officer were injured in protests in the city of Nampula on Friday, a police spokesperson told reporters. Police arrested 70 people, including 60 in Nampula and others in capital Maputo, Nacala and Quelimane, he said.
Mozambique’s Public Integrity Center, an independent non-profit entity, said one young man was confirmed dead in Nacala and two people were shot by police in Nampula. One police officer was also killed by mobs in Nampula, it said.
“Mozambique police was obliged to go out to the streets across the country and use force to quell violent protests,” police spokesperson Orlando Mudumane said in a statement.
“The police, under the law, will use all available and proportionate means to suppress violence,” he said. He did not take questions or mention any deaths.
Demonstrations started shortly after the Oct. 11 municipal elections as results trickled in. The ruling party, FRELIMO, was declared the winner in 64 out of 65 municipalities and has denied fraud.
The main opposition party, RENAMO, said it would go to the Constitutional Court to challenge the results.
“Police in Mozambique regularly use excessive and unnecessary force to kill, injure and detain protesters,” rights group Amnesty International said in a statement last week.
Amnesty said it had documented the use of live ammunition against protesters and called for an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old boy during earlier demonstrations in Chiure municipality.
(Reporting by Manuel Mucari; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)