Curfews were shot during violent demonstrations in poor areas against coronavirus restrictions.

Two men were shot dead in Libreville during curfew violations and protests against coronavirus restrictions, Gabon police said on Friday.

The two were shot dead late Thursday when the country was hit by violent demonstrations in poor areas against an increased curfew and a ban on leaving or entering the capital.

For three days, city dwellers across the country beat pots and petrol cans. There were clashes with the police on Thursday.

National Police Chief Serge Herve Ngoma said in a filmed statement that protesters built barricades and fought the police with Molotov cocktails, stones and iron bars.

“Under circumstances that are not yet known, two curfews in Libreville were shot and died from their wounds,” he said, adding that an investigation was underway.

Prosecutor Andre Patrick Roponat said “people wearing ski masks in a car opened fire”.

Gabon has imposed a curfew and blocking movement in and out of Libreville in an attempt to stem a surge in coronavirus cases.

Bars and clubs have closed over the past year and large sections of an informal economy that many depend on have suffered from measures against COVID.

Gabon, with a population of less than two million, has reported around 13,000 cases of the virus, including 75 deaths.

A third of the cases were reported in the past two months when a second wave hit the country, according to Health Minister Guy Patrick Obiang Ndong.

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