Post-election violence in Gabon left one person dead on Thursday after officials declared the incumbent president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, the winner in a race that the opposition said had been marked by fraud. A civilian, who was not identified, died as security forces encircled the party headquarters of the opposition candidate, Jean Ping, early Thursday after hundreds of people had taken to the streets of the capital, Libreville. The protesters had set fires and insisted that Mr. Bongo had stolen the vote to claim a second term in office. Violence surged almost immediately after the release of election results Wednesday night that said Mr. Bongo, whose family has held the presidency since the late 1960s, had narrowly edged out Mr. Ping in voting on Saturday. The military was sent in to quell the demonstrations, aiming tear gas at protesters who were demanding a recount.
The election took place peacefully, although some voters complained about ballot procedures and polling stations that opened late. Results also took longer than expected to tally. Mr. Ping, a former African Union Commission chairman, pointed to that delay as evidence that Mr. Bongo’s supporters were using the time to concoct a fraudulent victory.
“The Gabonese people and the world can clearly see the fraud, lies and manipulation,” he said in a statement released early Thursday. He cited as evidence reports from elections officials that there had been 99.9 percent turnout in some polling places where Mr. Bongo was favored.
“ ‘Results’ like Ali Bongo’s are the hallmarks of dictators and tyrants who refuse to give up power — not the cornerstones of democracies, nations, and peoples who respect fairness and the rule of law,” Mr. Ping said in his statement, which called on American officials to reject the results.
Before the results were announced, the American State Department had described the voting as professional but cited irregularities. Both the United States and France have called on Gabonese officials to release results from individual polling stations to assure voters the outcome was legitimate.