Fighting Erupts in Ivory Coast

Published on Thursday 16th December 2010

Witnesses in Ivory Coast report heavy gunfire outside the headquarters of Alassane Ouattara, one of two men claiming the country's presidency.Ivorians were braced for violence Thursday after Mr. Ouattara called on supporters to march on state television and government buildings controlled by the incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo.Earlier Thursday, police in the main city of Abidjan fired tear gas to disperse Ouattara supporters as they tried to assemble. Police and soldiers have set up barricades around the television station in anticipation of the march.Mr. Ouattara and Mr. Gbagbo both claimed victory in last month's presidential runoff election and both have named their own governments, raising fears of a new conflict eight years after Ivory Coast's civil war.The United Nations, African Union and European Union have all recognized Mr. Ouattara as the winner of the vote while President Gbagbo retains loyalty of the army.Witnesses say security forces shot and killed at least one person Wednesday during an anti-Gbagbo demonstration in the capital, Yamoussoukro.U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday he is deeply concerned about the threat of violence in Ivory Coast.  In a statement, Mr. Ban said recent developments have created a politically-charged environment where actions could have "unpredictable consequences," including the renewal of civil war.Mr. Gbagbo has ruled the country since 2000.  His term officially ended in 2005, but he has remained in office through repeated election delays.



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