March 27, 2001

Guyanan army, police take to streets to quell demonstrations

                  GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) -- Army soldiers and riot police fired shots into
                  the air on Monday, trying to chase away angry mobs demonstrating against the
                  governing party's recent election victory.

                  The demonstrations prompted stores and schools to close early. Chief Justice
                  Desiree Bernard also decided to end hearings for the day into an opposition
                  action filed against the Guyana Elections Commission challenging the March 19
                  election results.

                  The elections gave incumbent Bharrat Jagdeo's People's Progressive Party a
                  third, five-year term. Guyana's main opposition party has argued that results
                  were wrong because many opposition supporters were kept from voting and the
                  official tally did not match unofficial results.

                  The elections have aggravated tensions between descendants of indentured
                  laborers from India -- who mostly back the ruling party _ and Afro-Guyanese
                  who support the opposition People's National Congress.

                  The country's election commission canceled a swearing-in ceremony for Jagdeo
                  that had been scheduled for Friday afternoon so that the court could deliberate
                  on the opposition challenge. The hearings will continue Tuesday.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.