COTONOU (Reuters) - Security forces in Benin’s capital Cotonou on Thursday fired weapons to disperse crowds protesting against the exclusion of opposition parties from last Sunday’s parliamentary election, Reuters witnesses said.
Hundreds of people have been protesting since Wednesday, burning tires and calling for President Patrice Talon to step down, rare unrest in the country of 11 million, and long seen as a bastion of stability in West Africa.
Security forces, backed by armored military vehicles, used firearms to break up the protest, two Reuters witnesses said. It was not clear if they were using live rounds or firing directly at the crowd.
A video widely shared online appeared to show government forces firing guns and using water cannon. It was not immediately possible to verify the footage.
A Reuters witness saw two wounded protesters, one bleeding heavily.
Police declined to comment and there was no confirmation on the number of casualties.