Agenzia Fides REPORT - Violent clashes are underway in the administrative capital of Côte d'Ivoire, Abidjan, where supporters of Alassane Ouattara, the President recognized by the international community, have organized a march to seize the headquarters of National Radio and Television (RFI), following a call by their leaders in recent days (see Fides 15/12/2010). “There are clashes in different districts of the capital, but the area around the RFI is calm although manned by security forces, a sign that the demonstrators have not been able to reach it,” says a source from the Church in Abidjan to Fides, who for security reasons does not wish to be named. “The supporters of Ouattara from the north were stopped because the roads leading to the capital were blocked by police. New accounts of the dead and wounded are spreading every hour.” Police are making use of tear gas but there is also evidence of the use of firearms. According to press reports there have been at least four deaths.
The institutional political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire began on 3 December, when the Constitutional Council annulled the results declared on 2 December by the Election Commission under which the winner of the presidential ballot on 28 November was Alassane Ouattara, with 54% of the vote, and instead declared the winner, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. Côte d'Ivoire now has two Presidents with two respective Prime Ministers and their Governments (see Fides 6/12/2010).
Ouattara has called for another march tomorrow, 17 December, to accompany his cabinet, led by Guillaume Soro, to the Government headquarters in central Abidjan.
“Everything is played out in Abidjan, the Country's administrative capital (Yamoussoukro is the political capital), because here are the “corridors of power”, including the President. The armed forces have so far sided with Gbagbo, but it cannot be said that the whole army is in favour of the outgoing President. The balance of power in this struggle is likely to be the army,” concludes the Fides source.
The Bishops of Côte d'Ivoire have not issued a personal statement on the meeting which they had yesterday with Gbagbo to try to find a solution to the crisis. Today in Abidjan the Episcopal Conference is expected to call a special session.