Police fire tear gas at protesters in Ivory Coast

Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in eastern Ivory Coast.

Police fire tear gas at protesters in Ivory Coast

Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in eastern Ivory Coast on Monday, paralyzing the city of Abengourou.

The demonstrations follow President Laurent Gbagbo's dissolution of the government and electoral commission on Friday in a move that is almost certain to delay long-awaited presidential elections set for March.

"We have decided to protest against Gbagbo's decision to dissolve the government and the electoral commission. It is dictatorship," said Abdoulaye Ba, one of the demonstration leaders in the city of Abengourou.

He said thousands of youths had gathered before riot police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the crowd. Police had tear-gassed about a hundred opposition supporters demonstrating in Abidjan on Saturday.

Ivory Coast's prime minister met with the heads of the U.N. mission and Gbagbo's party on Monday over the country's deepening political crisis, and is expected to name a new cabinet in the coming days.

Opposition leaders reiterated a call not to recognise Gbagbo, whom they accuse of staging a coup, as president and said they would not accept a new electoral commission.

"The independent electoral commission must be re-established and must become functional again to take us back to where we were," Alphonse Djedje Mady, secretary general of the Ivory Coast Democratic Party (PDCI), said in a statement.

"We won't wait for another commission of a different form. We want the commission that was there to finish its work."

Opposition parties have called for massive protests nationwide, raising fears of escalating turmoil.

Gbagbo had accused electoral commission boss Robert Mambe, an opposition party member, of attempting to add 429,000 names to the voter register that did not have their Ivorian identity cross-checked in an attempt to boost the opposition vote.

Reuters

Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2010, 15:31
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