Vote counting suspended in Guayas Province following attacks on election officials

Feb 20, 2017

The director of vote counting operations in Guayas Province suspended operations at 5 a.m. Monday morning following what police say were attacks on election workers outside National Electoral Council (CNE) offices in Guayaquil. According to police, supporters of presidential candidates Guillermo Lasso and Abdala Bucaram were responsible.

Police inside the Guayas CNE office.

Gabriela Muñoz, regional CNE director, said that thousands of of Lasso and Bucaram supporters had gathered outside the CNE office in Northern Guayaquil at 10 p.m. Sunday. During early morning hours Monday, the mob turned violent roughing up election workers entering and leaving the office. In at least one case, attackers attempted to grab ballot boxes from workers entering the building.

In another case, police inside the building were forced to hold back a crowd attempting to force open the doors.

Video of the scene shows police using billy clubs to protect workers and clear paths for vehicles coming and going from the CNE building. A number of cars were damaged during the melee.

Muñoz said that those assaulted planned to file charges this morning against the attackers based on video coverage of the scene.

According to Muñoz, vote counting was to resume at 9 a.m.

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