After sham parliamentary elections with record low turnout, protesters in Benin erected barricades of burning tires and smashed government buildings and businesses on Wednesday and Thursday.
Following an election on Sunday without any opposition candidates, soldiers and large numbers of police deployed on Wednesday across the economic capital Contonou.
While democracy always relies on the deceptive promise of representation by elected officials, the overt hypocrisy of these recent elections led many people to boycott voting and instead take to the streets.
Militants erected makeshift barriers of burning tires, and chanting slogans against President Patrice Talon.
Revolutionaries have torched businesses, hurled stones, and smashed the windows of government buildings. Police have attempted to repress the insurrection by firing tear gas to break up crowds.
Militants continued their protests overnight, and remained on the streets Thursday.
“Nobody has slept,” said one demonstrator on Thursday morning, who gave his name as Justin B.
“Around 10 pm, they cut the light and fired live ammunition,” he claimed, pointing to two empty bullet casings and bloodstains on the floor. “Two people were seriously injured, a man and a woman.”
In the Cadjehoun district of Cotonou, a resident also reported to have heard shots fired.
While the small West African state has been held up by some as a “model for democracy,” these recent events demonstrate that democracy, so often used as an excuse for invasion by imperialist forces, is, in fact, in opposition to freedom for the people of Benin.
On the day of the election, more than three-quarters of the country’s five million registered voters stayed at home.
Militant actions agains the state are expected to continue in Benin.