- Title: IVORY COAST: Security forces kill protesters
- Date: 20th February 2010
- Summary: GAGNOA, IVORY COAST (FEBRUARY 19, 2010) (REUTERS) WOUNDED PROTESTER WITH BANDAGED HEAD LYING DOWN ON A BED RED CROSS VOLUNTEER TALKING TO RELATIVES OF WOUNDED PROTESTER VARIOUS OF RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS TALKING TO WOUNDED PROTESTER VARIOUS OF RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS MOVING WOUNDED MAN OUT OF BED VARIOUS OF RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS MOVING WOUNDED MAN OUT OF HOSPITAL ROOM VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF HOSPITAL HOSPITAL CORRIDOR WITH MAN WOUNDED BY BULLET LYING ON THE FLOOR BANDAGED LEG (SOUNDBITE) (French) DRIVER WOUNDED BY STRAY BULLET, DIARRASSOUBA NARI, SAYING: "I went to check on my car, as they (protesters) were throwing rocks, so I thought they will break the windows, so I went out to check and saw they hadn't broken the windows, so I folded in the wing mirrors in, and I was returning back home, and that's one a stray bullet hit me." FAMILY OF 15 YEAR OLD TEENAGER CHRISTIAN BRROU ANDOKOU KILLED BY STRAY BULLET DURING PROTEST TWO WOMEN RELATIVES, ONE SHOWING THE PICTURE OF THE KILLED TEENAGER ANDOKOU'S PHOTO VARIOUS OF WOMAN CRYING NEXT TO THE TEENAGER'S MOTHER WOMEN MOURNING MORE OF WOMAN CRYING WITH THE TEENAGER'S MOTHER (SOUNDBITE) (French) UNCLE OF KILLED TEENAGER, ANDRE NGUESSAN KONAN, SAYING: "The march was in town, and people were running back home, and the boy was coming back home with his colleagues. That's when he received a bullet in the back of the head. We took him to hospital but they couldn't do anything to save him, so he died." STREET SCENE BURNT TYRE WITH PEOPLE PASSING IN BACKGROUND PEOPLE WALKING WITH MOSQUE IN THE BACKGROUND VARIOUS ROAD BLOCKED BY CAR SHELLS ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST (FEBRUARY 19, 2010) (REUTERS) ***CONTAINS SOME FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF FOUR OPPOSITION LEADERS ENTERING MEETING ROOM, CHEERED ON BY SUPPORTERS JOURNALIST FILMING VARIOUS OF FOUR OPPOSITION LEADERS SITTING AND LISTENING TO SPEECH (SOUNDBITE) (French) OPPOSITION PARTIES' SPOKESMAN, ALPHONSE DJEDJE MADY, SAYING: "We are asking for immediate reinstatement of the Independent Electoral Commission in all its rights, and reaffirms that its participation in the government is secondary to that." MEMBER OF OPPOSITION LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (French) IVORIAN FORMER PRESIDENT AND ELECTIONS CANDIDATE, HENRI KONAN BEDIE, SAYING: "Partisans, partisans supporters of peace, justice and freedom, all united we will stand in the way of the dictatorship and we will do everything we can to oppose it." OPPOSITION LEADER ALASSANE OUATTARA SHAKING HANDS WITH OTHER OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE MEETING ROOM FORMER PRESIDENT HENRI KONAN BEDIE SHAKING HANDS WITH OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS OUTSIDE MEETING ROOM
- Embargoed: 7th March 2010 12:00
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5CLPQIXU732X8C307S66KJ2BA
- Story Text: Security forces in Ivory Coast opened fire on hundreds of protesters in southwestern Gagnoa town on Friday (February 19), killing an undisclosed number of people and wounding others, hospital sources said.
An opposition politician at the march estimated the number of dead at five but there was no independent confirmation.
A local hospital treated the wounded with the help of Red Cross volunteers.
Driver Diarrassouba Nari was worried about his car as protesters were throwing rocks. He was injured by a stray bullet.
"I folded in the wing mirrors in, and I was returning back home, and that's one a stray bullet hit me," Nari said.
The acting hospital director said he was not authorised to give the death or injury toll because it was too sensitive.
Other families were mourning their dead. Madelaine Kouadio wept as her brother told how her 15-year-old son, Christian Brrou Andokou, had been shot in back of the head.
"The march was in town, and people were running back home, and the boy was coming back home with his colleagues. That's when he received a bullet in the back of the head. We took him to hospital but they couldn't do anything to save him, so he died," the teenager's uncle, Andre Nguessan Konan said.
Gagnoa's main street was littered with stones and the ashes of burnt tyres after the protest. The town was deserted by late afternoon except for the police and gendarmerie.
A man who was at the march said the protesters raised their hands at a roadblock to show they were unarmed.
Alexi Godou, a member of presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara's opposition Rally of the Republicans (RDR) party, told Reuters he counted five bodies at the morgue.
An official in Ivory Coast's military said two security agents were wounded after protesters pelted them with stones.
The violence is the latest in a spate of demonstrations in the world's top cocoa grower since President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved the government and the electoral commission a week ago, after a row over voter registration.
West Africa's former economic hub is under increasing international pressure to end the row and restart an electoral process meant to end a crisis triggered by a 2002-3 war.
The poll originally was supposed to take place in 2005 and public anger is boiling over at years of political instability and limbo while Ivorians wait for elections seen as the only way of drawing a line under their conflict.
Gbagbo's decision -- taken after he accused electoral commission head Robert Mambe of illegally adding names to the electoral register to boost the opposition vote -- is certain to push back the latest election time frame of early March.
The killings by security forces are likely to escalate tensions that already are high. Opposition leaders have called for civil disobedience unless Gbagbo reinstates the electoral commission, but until now protests had been largely peaceful.
A coalition of opposition groups gathered in Abidjan on Friday night and held a minute of silence in honour of the dead. They urged Gbagbo to resign and for protests to continue.
"We are asking for immediate reinstatement of the Independent Electoral Commission in all its rights, and reaffirms that its participation in the government is secondary to that," opposition leader Alphonse Djedje Mady said.
"Partisans, partisans supporters of peace, justice and freedom, all united we will stand in the way of the dictatorship and we will do everything we can to oppose it," said former Ivorian President Henri Konan Bedie.
Prime Minister Guillaume Soro, a former rebel until a 2007 peace deal, is due to name a government on Saturday, although that could be delayed by political wrangling. It is not clear when or how a new electoral commission will be formed.
Rising tensions threaten to hurt a cocoa industry that supplies 40 percent of world demand, and could scupper an election the World Bank has said is needed for debt relief.
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