Women march in Abidjan, Gbagbo to skip talks with Ouattara
Hundreds of women demonstrated in Côte d'Ivoire Tuesday to protest the deaths of seven women killed last week in a rally against Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down as president, despite international recognition of his challenger Alassane Ouattara as the winner of November’s election. Gbagbo’s party, meanwhile, said that he will not take part in African Union-mediated talks with Ouattara, and would send someone else.
Protesters in the Women's Day demonstrations chanted slogans against Gbagbo, who they blame for Thursday’s deadly shootings of seven women who were showing support for Ouattara.
Gbagbo’s supporters deny being involved in the killings, which took place in Abobo, a pro-Ouattara district of Abidjan.
Residents reported demonstrations in towns in the north of the country, in an area under control of the New Forces, a former rebel army now allied with Ouattara.
Meanwhile, Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front party (FPI) said it would send party leader Pascal Affi N’Guessan and foreign minister Alcide Djedje to Addis Ababa to take part in AU-mediated talks with Ouattara in Addis Ababa.
The FPI said Gbagbo would not attend, because he does not want to leave Côte d'Ivoire "because of the deterioration of the domestic security situation”.
The African Union invited both men to its headquarters for talks to try to end the presidential crisis.
Ouattara will attend the meeting, which will include the presidents of Mauritania, South Africa, Chad, Burkina Faso and Tanzania.