Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Cote d'Ivorie: mediation fails, demonstration is still on

Ghanian President John Kufuor's mediation efforts have failed ... tomorrow's demonstration will go on as planned.
Kufuor, speaking after his efforts failed warned that if Thursday's protest turned out badly, the whole peace process would be challenged.

Gbagbo has put the army on full alert, while schools are to be closed until next week as ex-rebels and the political opposition prepared for the demonstration in Abidjan to air their grievances with the president's refusal to fully implement a peace pact [Marcoussis Accord].

...The march is due to be held in the heart of Abidjan amid warnings by commanders of the presidential and national guards that any demonstrator who gets too close to the presidential palace will be regarded as an enemy combatant and shot.

...On Tuesday evening, Gbagbo went on television, asking the opposition to call off the march in the "national interest" and presenting a list of points from the Marcoussis accord which had been "sent to the national assembly".
This is interesting ...
But even Abidjan residents who agree with the opposition [PDCI] say they will not participate in the protest for fear of violence.

Rebels of the New Forces, who control the north of the country, said they also will not attend the march in Abidjan. Instead, they are asking their supporters to take to the streets in the main rebel-held northern cities of Bouake, Man, and Korhogo.