Top of the Morning: Voting Begins After Election-Eve Clashes in Liberia; Violence Escalates in Syria

Top stories from today’s DAWNS Digest.

Voting Begins After Election-Eve Violence in Liberia

Ever since opposition candidate Winston Tubman of the CDC pledged to boycott the run-off vote on Tuesday, tensions have run extremely high in and around Monrovia. It finally boiled over in a clash on Monday between Tubman supporters and police that left at least four protesters shot dead, the worst political violence since the end of Liberia’s civil war. Voting in the run-off between Tubman and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf begins today. “Around 4,500 polling stations have opened in Liberia’s presidential run-off election amid fears of violence and intimidation after clashes left at least four people dead in the capital, Monrovia. Al Jazeera’s correspondent Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Monrovia, said on Tuesday that the quiet atmosphere around the polling stations might be one of the side effects of the violence and chaos around the streets of Monrovia yesterday. ‘There is a sense that people are afraid to come out and vote [and] this could naturally have an impact on turnout. The opposition is calling for protests today and asking their supporters to wear black, and are calling today a funeral for democracy in Liberia.’ (Al Jazeera

I think It’s Fair to Say that Arab League Sponsored Syria Peace Deal is Dead

If violence over the weekend was not enough to convince you that the deal was kaput, maybe this will: “The death toll from Syria’s revolt was reported on Tuesday to have mounted significantly as government troops pursued a bloody assault to retake Homs, the country’s third-largest city, where loyalists are facing armed defectors who have prevented the government’s forces from seizing it as they did other restive locales this summer. The confrontation may stand as one of the most violent episodes of the eight-month uprising. Details of the assault continued to emerge on Tuesday as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said at least 3,500 people had been killed in Syria since the uprising took root in March… The organization’s figure last month was “more than 3,000.” The specter of civil war has long hung over Homs, the most tenacious and determined of cities opposed to President Bashar al-Assad‘s rule, where the city’s Sunni Muslim majority has closed ranks behind the revolt. This month, parts of the city have become an urban battlefield, with activists saying government forces have killed 111 people in just five days, opposition groups warning of dire shortages forced by the siege and residents complaining of lawlessness by marauding soldiers and paramilitary fighters.” (NYT