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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Togo's poll loser 'is president'
Opposition supporters in Togo burning barricades
Protests began on polling day, when ballot boxes were destroyed
Togo's opposition presidential candidate has declared himself president with 70% of the vote, despite official results giving him only 38%.

"We must fight with our lives if necessary," Bob Akitani said, claiming the poll was rigged in favour of Faure Gnassingbe, the former leader's son.

Security forces have again fired teargas at his supporters who erected and burned barricades in the streets.

Earlier, regional observers gave the poll a clean bill of health.

But the opposition has been collating the data from its agents who were at the polling stations, and says these prove Mr Akitani won all the most populous regions of the country.

According to provisional results from the electoral commission Mr Akitani - the main opposition candidate - got 38% of votes cast compared to 60% for the ruling RPT party candidate Mr Faure.

Determination

"Men and women of Togo, this is your president speaking," Mr Akitani told journalists.

By and large the Togolese people had the opportunity to express their opinion
Mohammed ibn Chambas
Ecowas

The opposition intends to appeal to the constitutional court which has still to confirm the result of the election.

Mr Akitani appealed to his supporters to stand firm, saying their strength was the determination of the people.

But it is difficult for him to get his message across to his supporters, correspondents say.

Local reporters were not at his press conference and the government closed down on Wednesday the local relay of Radio France Internationale and most of Togo's private radio stations.

Molotov cocktails

Hospital sources told AFP news agency that 11 people had died and almost 100 were injured in Tuesday's violence following the announcement of the official result.

ELECTION RESULTS
Ruling party supporter in Togo
Faure Gnassingbe: 1.4m votes (60%)
Bob Akitani: 841,000 (38%)
Turnout: 64%
Source: Electoral Commission (Provisional results)

AP news agency reported young men throwing flaming Molotov cocktails at police as they confronted them on Wednesday.

Opposition supporters have built a "fortress" of barricades around their stronghold in the southern Lome suburb of Be, says the BBC's Mark Dummett in the city.

But he says other areas have quietened down since Tuesday.

Interior Minister Katari Foli-Bazi says three soldiers have died and announced that all street gatherings were banned, warning opposition leaders they would be held personally responsible for the actions of their followers.

'Reconciliation'

Mr Faure denied vote-rigging and urged veteran opposition UFC leader Gilchrist Olympio to join a government of national unity.

The West African regional group Ecowas had observers on the ground and have said the result was, by and large, fair.

"In Togo we had 152 observers, including eminent lawyers, juries, retired diplomats, very elder statesmen," Ecowas Secretary-General Mohammed ibn Chambas told the BBC's World Today programme.

"Their conclusion is that yes there were some difficulties... there were incidents of violence in scattered places but by and large the Togolese people had the opportunity to express their opinion."

Soldier kicking a protester on the streets of the Togolese capital,  Lome
A suspected looter is kicked in the head by a soldier

Earlier, Mr Olympio, who was ineligible to stand in the poll because he lives in exile following a 1992 assassination attempt, said his party would not serve as a minority partner in any unity government.

Regional powerhouse Nigeria had said that Mr Olympio and Mr Faure had agreed to share power in a bid to calm tensions.

During the campaign, Mr Faure, 39 was portrayed as the candidate for a new Togo even though his father had run the country for 38 years - in contrast to Mr Akitani, 75.

His support base is in the north, while the opposition is strongest in the south, including Lome.

President Gnassingbe Eyadema, who died in February after ruling Togo for 38 years, had seized power in a coup from Mr Olympio's father, Sylvanus, in 1963.

The army tried to install Mr Faure after his father's death, but pressure led him to step down and call an election.


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