Ivorian demonstrators block roads, burn tyres

The opposition has called for big street protests, raising the spectre of violence in the world's top cocoa grower.

Ivorian demonstrators block roads, burn tyres

Demonstrators blockaded parts of Ivory Coast on Wednesday in protest against President Laurent Gbagbo's decision to dissolve the government and electoral commission, witnesses and protesters said.

Gbagbo's decision following a spat with the electoral commission over voter registration is certain to delay yet again a presidential election that was scheduled for early March.

The opposition has called for big street protests, raising the spectre of violence in the world's top cocoa grower.

In the main city of Abidjan, a protester seized and set fire to a bus belonging to a national transport company.

"There was a vandal amongst the bus passengers who sprayed the bus with flammable liquid," said Thomas Koffi, the transport company manager.

"Ever since the president's decision to dissolve the government and CEI (electoral commission) by the government, we've been confronted by these acts of vandalism."

In the central towns of Daoukro, Dimbokro and M'Bahiakro, independent witnesses told Reuters by phone that that about 1,000 demonstrators had marched though each town.

Protesters said they had blocked routes and burned tyres.

"There must be around a thousand youths marching through the streets," said cocoa farmer Paul Konan in Daoukro.

Protester Evariste Konan said his comrades had blocked roads and activity in the town.

A resident of the town of M'Bahiakro, Bernard Yao Kouassi, who witnessed the demonstration there, also said there were about 1,000 people. Serges Kouakou, primary teacher in Dimbokro, gave a similar figure for that protest.

Prime Minister Guillaume Soro is expected to announce a new government this week. It is not clear when a new electoral commission will be established.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc urged a swift resolution to the electoral register dispute on Tuesday.

Gbagbo had accused the electoral commission head of illegally registering voters loyal to the opposition.


Reuters

Last Mod: 18 Şubat 2010, 08:06
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