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The International Election Observers, Pan African Women Projects that monitored the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom on Saturday, decried alleged snatching of ballot boxes in polling units across the state.
Ms Mphoentie Keitseng, the Publicity Secretary of PAN Projects, made the remarks during an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday.
“There were lots of ballot box snatching in lots of polling units and thump printing was ongoing at the opposition party office in the state.
“Our observers reported ballot boxes being snatched and carted away by hoodlums after interaction with various party agents at the unit 12 ward 2 in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.
“The result sheets were missing in Ewang in Mbo LGA of the state,’’ she said.
Keitseng said there was absence of materials at Udung Uko LGA ward 4, Convent primary school, adding that no election was carried out as of 2:31 p.m. on February 23.
She lamented insufficient security personnel in some polling units during the elections.
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“Violence almost led to loss of lives as there were no security agents present at Unit 12 ward 6, Obio Offot, Uyo and Ibesikpo area.
“The collation of materials at some collation centres was characterised by thuggery and intimidation of Electoral Officers, ad hoc staff and corps members by security personnel.
“In Essien Udom, accredited observers were stopped by the thugs and violently barred from accessing collation centre,” she said.
There was late arrival of materials during the elections in Uyo and some LGAs in the state.
“Many returning officers were attacked by thugs at various collation centres in Akwa Ibom, because officers refuse to adjust result sheets in favour of a certain candidate that truly lost the election,’’ Keitseng said.
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Ten and thousands of Hong Kong protesters flood city streets in largest rally in weeks
Source: AFP- A sea of democracy activists flooded the streets of Hong Kong Sunday in a defiant show to the city’s leaders that their movement still pulls wide public support, despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas poured across the heart of Hong Kong island defying torrential rain and a police order not to march from a park where they had gathered earlier for a rally.
Weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis, with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles against riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability.
Sunday’s action, which organisers the Civil Human Rights Front said drew more than 1.7 million in the largest rally in weeks, was billed as a return to the “peaceful” origins of the leaderless protest movement.
“It’s been a long day and we’re very tired, but to see so many people out in the rain marching for Hong Kong gives strength to everyone,” said Danny Tam, a 28-year-old graphic designer.
The unprecedented political crisis was sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.
But protests have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.
Anger has been sharpened among protesters by the perceived heavy-handedness of the police who have used tear gas, baton charges and rubber bullets in incidents that have pinballed across social media.
“The police are doing things that are totally unacceptable,” said Yim, who like many of the protesters gave only one name.
“They are hurting citizens, they aren’t protecting us.”
AFP / Manan VATSYAYANATorrential rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of protesters in Hong Kong
Communist Party-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the “terrorist-like” actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.
Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city’s unelected leadership.
Hong Kong Activities face crucial weekend test after airport setback
Source: AFP- Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing’s next move.
Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions “terrorist-like”.
Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China.
The nationalistic Global Times newspaper said there would not be a repeat of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, in which hundreds — or even thousands — are believed to have been killed, if Beijing moves to quash the protests.
“The incident in Hong Kong won’t be a repeat of the June 4th political incident in 1989,” it said, insisting the country now had more sophisticated approaches.
It was a rare reference to the bloody events, which are taboo in China.
Hong Kong’s protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city.
Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters for 10 consecutive weekends.
For most of that time, US President Donald Trump has taken a hands-off approach to the unrest but began speaking up this week, suggesting any potential trade deal with Beijing could be upended by a violent response from the mainland.
Speaking on Thursday, Trump urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet protesters and solve the crisis “humanely”.
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