Riots broke out in parts of Georgetown, Guyana on Tuesday as residents waited for the votes from Monday’s election to be tallied.
The Guyana Elections Commission was still counting votes as of the Beacon’s print deadline yesterday, but disturbances broke out after rumours that Kwame McCoy, a candidate with the ruling coalition, was assaulted by supporters of the opposition coalition, members of which belong to the Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change.
Fires broke out and supporters of both coalitions alleged that the other group had committed acts of violence, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation.
Despite the violence, some observers have said that the voting was fair and generally free of irregularities.
“The Guyana Elections Commission has once again done a credible job in ensuring that this critical election day phase of the process was free and fair,” the United States Embassy in Georgetown announced in a statement. “It dealt effectively with the challenges posed by high voter turnout and community exuberance in a manner that has ensured the integrity of the vote.”
The same statement urged supporters of all political parties to remain calm.
“As we all await the final announcement of results, the US Embassy urges all Guyanese to remain patient and to avoid any actions that could provoke conflict or violence,” the statement said. “It is our hope that political leaders on all sides will remain proactively engaged with their respective supporters in order to promote calm and reconciliation.”
Members of both coalitions echoed those calls, as did Dr. Steve Surujbally of the elections commission.
“This peace and tranquility cannot prevail within an environment of turbulence,” he said. “I would like to ask the persons who are milling around polling stations to disperse and go home.”