Four demonstrators were killed after clashes with the police in Ivory Coast. The violent demonstration was triggered by President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to run for third term this October, despite the move being considered unconstitutional.
In March this year, the 78-year-old Quattara announced that he will not take part in this year’s Presidential elections, but later changed his mind after his party, the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP), nominated him to contest following sudden death from a heart attack of his nominated successor Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly.
Three people were killed in the central town of Daoukro, while on Thursday, an 18-year-old died in the south-eastern town of Bonoua during violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces.
On Wednesday the government announced a ban on protests, but citizens did not take heed of the ban.
Police fired several teargas to quell the angry mob but to no avail. The protesters managed to overpower the police, which made the security forces to retreat and to take refuge, according to one of the local residents Herve Niamkey.
“The police station in Bonoua has been ransacked by angry demonstrators, and the police chief and officers have taken refuge in the courtyard,” said Niamkey.
While police lost control of some areas, a few were kept under control due to the heavy deployment of riot police especially in the district of Cocody, where the President and many politicians reside.
Demonstrators had to barricade roads and burned tyres in the streets.
Despite the violence, Ouattara’s party, Houphouetist Rally for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) was unfazed by the protest as they went on to announce that Ouattara would be formally nominated at a big rally in Abidjan scheduled for 22 August.
Ouattara’s opponents have maintained that the two-term limit in the constitution bars him from running again, but Ouattara insisted that his first two mandates do not count under the new constitution adopted in 2016.
Some of the opposition Presidential candidates in this year’s Presidential election includes former Prime minister Pascal Affi N’Guessan of the Ivorian Popular Front party, former President Henri Konan Bedie of the Democratic Party of the Ivory Coast, and former Foreign Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News Correspondent