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State of emergency ends in Mongolia

world Updated: Jul 05, 2008 08:29 IST

AP
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A four-day state of emergency in Mongolia ended early on Saturday after violent election riots last week left five people dead, 300 injured, and hundreds detained in this fledgling democracy.

Calm had returned to the capital by yesterday, but police and troops in riot gear still patrolled downtown Ulan Bator throughout the day.

"We're going through a difficult period of political and economic transition where all parties need to harmonise and agree on some basic norms," Justice Minister Munk-Orgil said as workers cleared away rubble from charred buildings a stone's throw away from his office.

Violence broke out after results were announced in Sunday's parliamentary elections, in which the ruling Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party appeared to win an outright majority in the 76-seat body. Opposition leaders accused the MPRP of fraud, although independent observers found no signs of systematic abuses.

The national election commission has until July 10 to announce final results.

The rioting left five people dead, 300 injured and 700 under arrest. The MPRP headquarters was set on fire and other buildings looted.

"It may have started as some sort of political thing," said shopkeeper S Altai, who like many in the city supports the main opposition Democratic Party. "In the end, though, it was just criminal."

The violence prompted President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, a ruling party member, to declare the country's first-ever state of emergency.