Angry supporters of Ivory Coast's president, Laurent Gbagbo, took to
the streets in Abidjan Wednesday, as government radio broadcast the list
of ministers in the new Cabinet.
Hundreds of militants, known as Young Patriots, threw up barricades and burned tires in a part of the city
considered a pro-Gbagbo stronghold. Security
forces dispersed the crowd, firing shots in the air. The head of the army,
General Philippe Mangou, called for calm.
A militant supporter of the president, Patricia Hamza, says the youths
were protesting the presence of two rebel leaders in the new Cabinet.
"We can't accept these men in the government," said Ms. Hamza.
"Normally, they must have nothing in the government. Because they [took
up] arms, we are in this situation today. The future is not good, and I'm
very pessimistic for the future."
Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny will, himself, take over the
position of finance minister. The post had previously been held by a
supporter of the president.
A member of Ivory Coast's former ruling
party, which is now in opposition, Claude Ahobaut, like many political
leaders, has hope for Mr. Banny's Cabinet.
He blames the Young Patriots for trying to block a peace process aimed
at ending the country's three-year-old civil war. He says the new
government must now adhere to a United Nations roadmap for peace that
calls for disarmament and presidential elections in 2006.
The leader of the New Forces rebels, Guillaume Soro, and the Number two
in the movement, Louis Dakoury Tabley, both have positions in the Cabinet.
But a rebel spokesman, Cisse Sindou, says supporters of Mr. Gbagbo
have too much power in the new body. And, he says, the prime minister must
now be allowed to do his job.
"No, we are not satisfied with the new composition, but we are giving
the benefit of the doubt to the prime minister," said Mr. Sindou. "We are
waiting to see how the prime minister is going to have the full power that
the resolution 1633 says that he has to have."
Civil war broke out in Ivory Coast in late 2002. A 2003 French-brokered
peace deal created a buffer zone separating rebels in the north from
government troops in the south.