Wednesday, March 09, 2011

More shootings on peaceful protesters in Cote d'Ivoire

Protesters in Cote d'Ivoire continue to be fired upon by government security forces. Four women were shot dead as thousands of women marched in what began as a peaceful protest. This follows an incident several days ago where eight people were shot dead.

Cote d'Ivoire remains at a political impasse because Laurent Gbagbo remains in power despite losing a recent election. The protesters are demanding that internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara be installed as the country's leader.

From Reuters Alert Net, reporters Media Coulibaly and Tim Cocks give us the latest from the Ivory Coast.

Ever since Gbagbo rejected U.N.-certified results showing he lost a November presidential election to Ouattara, supporters of the latter have seen their attempts at protest met with violent repression.

These ones initially appeared to go more peacefully, but were swiftly followed by outbreaks of gunfire.

In the downtown retail district of Treichville, witnesses said security forces fired on pro-Ouattara youths near a church, killing three young men and a 21-year-old women.

"It was a sit in. We prayed, some Muslims some Christians, then we went to St Jean church. Then we heard firing outside," said Helene Sommet, a Ouattara activist who helped evacuate the dead from the scene and take the wounded to a clinic.

"We took in 14 wounded. I'm at the clinic right now," she said by telephone, adding that she saw a truck with some of Gbagbo's elite Republican Security Company in the street.

There was no immediate comment from Gbagbo's military.

In Port Bouet, near Abidjan's airport, witnesses said about 50 pro-Gbagbo youths armed with AK47 assault rifles and machetes turned up to disperse 200 women who tried to march there.

"They fired into the air to disperse the women. They had weapons to intimidate them, but they didn't hurt anyone," said Bernard Aurega, a Ouattara party member who saw the march.

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