Ivory Coast erupts ahead of presidential poll


Abidjan – Protesters torched vehicles and clashed with police on Thursday as trouble erupted in several Ivory Coast towns ahead of next month’s landmark presidential election.

The protests were called by part of the opposition a day after the release by the Constitutional Council of the official list of 10 contenders running in the October 25 poll, including incumbent Alassane Ouattara.

Opposition groups urged anti-Ouattara marches on the grounds that both of his parents were not Ivorian – the same objection cited ahead of deadly unrest in 2010-2011 that left more than 3 000 dead following a presidential poll.

Then president Laurent Gbagbo, who is to stand trial for crimes against humanity in November in The Hague over the unrest, had refused to step down and acknowledge Ouattara’s victory at the ballot box.

Violence erupted Thursday in Gbagbo’s hometown Gagnoa where protesters erected barricades and set fire to tyres.

In Bonoua, hometown of his wife Simone Gbagbo, who is currently serving a 20-year sentence for her role in the post-poll unrest, a security source said police used teargas when clashes broke out between southerners and northerners.

In the Yopougon district of the capital, Abidjan, protesters set fire to a bus and stoned another, AFP reporters said.