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Zanzibar police fire on election protesters

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 2000


ZANZIBAR, Tanzania -- Police opened fire Monday on rock-throwing demonstrators protesting elections that international observers called flawed.

The opposition Civic United Front had been expected to do well in the elections in Zanzibar, a semiautonomous region of Tanzania off Africa's east coast. But the Zanzibar Electoral Commission failed to deliver ballots on time and didn't deliver them at all in 16 of the districts where the opposition party is strong.

The opposition demanded fresh voting throughout Zanzibar, but the election commission agreed to repeat the elections in only 16 of Zanzibar's 50 districts.

Demonstrators supporting the opposition gathered on a main street bordering Zanzibar's Stone Town district, chanting slogans against the ruling party and waving rainbow-colored feather dusters.

When police arrived, protesters began pelting them with stones. One officer fired an assault rifle into the crowd; others fired rubber bullets.

At least one protester was seriously injured; two dozen people were arrested.

In other elections

KYRGYZSTAN: Askar Akayev easily won a third term as president of Kyrgyzstan, according to results Monday, but accusations of vote-rigging in Sunday's balloting further eroded the country's tattered reputation as Central Asia's cornerstone of democracy.

BELARUS: Pro-government candidates swept Belarusian parliamentary runoff elections, according to results Monday. Opposition groups boycotted the vote; international observers called the election unfair. None of the leading opposition parties won seats in Parliament.

BRAZIL: Major cities swerved to the left in Brazil's municipal elections, a trend analysts say shows voters want more social spending and an end to corrupt government. The leftist Workers Party took 13 cities, including Sao Paulo.

OPEC plans to boost output 500,000 barrels

LONDON -- OPEC members plan to boost their targeted oil output by an additional 2 percent, but analysts say the move is largely symbolic and will do little to reduce prices for consumers.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is acting to meet its pledge to raise output if the average price of seven OPEC crudes remains above $28 a barrel for 20 days in a row. This price was $30.91 Friday, the 20th day over the ceiling.

As a result, OPEC plans to pump 500,000 more barrels a day starting today in an effort to bring down the price.

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