Cote d'Ivoire braces for violence

Crisis shows no signs of easing as Ouattara supporters prepare another attempt to seize state broadcaster's building.

    Backers of Ouattara failed to take over the state broadcaster's building on Thursday [AFP]

    Cote d'Ivoire is bracing for another day of unrest as the two rivals from last month's presidential runoff continue to claim their right to the job.

    Allies of Alassane Ouattara, the candidate who stood against the incumbent in the polls, urged Ivorians to join a new march through Abidjan to seize the state broadcaster's building on Friday.

    "We will continue to march," Patrick Achi, Ouattara's spokesman, said.

    A failed attempt by Ouattara's camp to occupy the television headquarters on Thursday left at least 10 protesters dead as they clashed with security forces armed with live rounds, while pro-Ouattara forces waged a brief gun battle with forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent.

    There were conflicting reports on the number of people killed in the clashes. Ouattara's camp said two of its men and 30 demonstrators died.

    A spokeswoman of Gbagbo's government said at least 20 people were killed in protests against Gbagbo, who has been recognised by the country's highest legal body as the winner of the runoff. Ten of them were said to be demonstrators and 10 security forces.

    'Almost impossible'

    Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abidjan, said on Thursday that it would be almost impossible for Ouattara's supporters to take control of state buildings and offices because Gbagbo, who was president for 10 years, still controlled the police and the military.

    "They [security forces] are loyal to him [Gbagbo] and believe adamantly that he won the election and that the official results showing Ouattara's victory were fraudulent ... so in their eyes they are simply defending the constitution and keeping law and order."

    Ouattara has been declared president-elect by the country's election commission. Shortly after, the constitutional council overturned the result by invalidating half a million votes from Ouattara strongholds.

    The United Nations, the US, African states and others have called on Gbagbo to stand down after the November 28 poll they say was won by Ouattara, but which Gbagbo insists was rigged by rebels who still hold the north after a 2002-2003 civil war.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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