At least three people have ended up dead during protests in Ivory Coast on Thursday, according to police reports. A group of people burned makeshift roadblocks in protests against Alassane Ouattara’s decision to stand for a third presidential term.
The West African nation has seen a number of scattered protests since the current president made it known last week that he would be running for presidency in the October 31st election, with the opposition accusing him of violating the constitutional term limits.
Police spokesman Bleu Charlemagne said in a statement on the state TV channel RTI that protesters in the southeastern town of Bonoua set fire to a police station after a young man died during a protest there on Thursday.
He however did not explain how the other protesters died.
A video which has been circulating on social media shows the police commissioner of Bonua town being covered in blood as some people rescued him from the burning police building.
The Police has arrested 58 people across the country in connection with the incident, Charlemagne said.
The executive director of Ouattara’s party, Adama Bictogo, defended Ouattara’s decision to run again, saying: “For us the debate is closed.”
Opposition parties on the other hand have accused the police of using excess force to break up demonstrations which is the constituional right of citizens.
Ivorian law limits presidential terms to a maximum of two, but Alassane Ouattara in his view is saying that the new constitution which was adopted in 2016 acted as a reset button, thereby allowing him to run again. Meaning that his previous terms before the adoption of the constitution had become invalidated. The October election is seen as a test of stability for a country still recovering from a brief civil war in 2010 and 2011.
One of Ouattara’s main challengers, former President Henri Konan Bedie, said on Wednesday that two protesters had been killed and others severely wounded during demonstrations held that day in his electoral stronghold Daoukro and elsewhere.
There have also been protests in the commercial capital of Abidjan. Police have been seen in riot gears clearing makeshift roadblocks that groups of protesters have been building since Thursday.
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