Embattled President Omar Bongo moved tanks and troops around his palace Thursday to stop anti-government rioters, and France rushed Foreign Legion reinforcements to this former African colony to guard French citizens here.
Rioters set public buildings ablaze and built barricades in Libreville, the capital of the oil-rich West African nation, and in the oil city of Port Gentil, 80 miles southwest of Libreville on the Atlantic coast.
Police fired into the air to disperse crowds trying to march on the presidential palace. Tanks and troops were deployed around the palace to halt rioters. There were no reports of casualties.
The riots erupted after opposition leader Joseph Rendjambe was found dead in a Libreville hotel room Tuesday.
Supporters of Rendjambe’s Gabon Progress Party said he was killed by a poison injection. Paris-based dissidents accused Bongo of murdering him.