MONROVIA (Reuters) - Thousands of youths rampaged through Liberia's capital Monrovia on Friday, smashing cars with stones in protest over late payment for "summer vacation jobs" they said they had done for the government.
Security forces fired teargas to disperse the protesters in various parts of the West African state's crumbling seaside city, where main thoroughfares including the road to the airport were blocked and jammed with trapped vehicles.
A Reuters witness said protesters were smashing car windows with rocks and tree branches, and said several United Nations and police vehicles were badly damaged. A protester threw a rock into the side of the Reuters vehicle.
Liberia's government has a summer work program for students, which includes manual jobs such as street cleaning. A government official was not immediately available to comment on the protests or whether payments had been made.
Tensions have been running high in Liberia since a presidential run-off election in November won by incumbent Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, but which her main opposition rival Winston Tubman has rejected as fraudulent.
Liberia is among the poorest countries in the world, and its infrastructure remains in ruins after years of civil war that ended in 2003.