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Cote d'Ivoire faces general strike amid political unrest

[ 2010-12-28 11:16]     字号 [] [] []  
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Supporters of Cote d'Ivoire's would-be president Alassane Ouattara called a general strike from Monday, as his rival Laurent Gbagbo warned that any attempt to force him out could trigger civil war.

Ouattara's party called on all citizens to stop work and to stay off until Gbagbo steps down.

"We should not let them steal our victory," said the RHDP party in a statement signed by its director.

The call from the RHDP, a coalition of pro-Ouattara parties, followed one made last Tuesday by Ouattara's choice for prime minister, Guillaume Soro, in which he called for civil "disobedience".

The strike, if it materializes, would start a day before three West African presidents visit Abidjan in a final bid to convince the 65-year-old Gbagbo to step down, with the threat of regional military intervention.

A defiant Gbagbo said he took the threat from ECOWAS "seriously" but would never back down.

Gbagbo told the French daily Le Figaro: "If there is internal disorder, a civil war, there will be dangers, because we will not let our law, our constitution, be trampled on. People should get that idea out of their heads."

"We're not afraid. We are the ones who are attacked. We have the law on our side. How far are those attacking us prepared to go?" he demanded.

Both Gbagbo and his long-time rival Ouattara claim to have won last month's presidential election, but only the latter has been recognized as the president by UN vote monitors and world powers.

International leaders, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, warned that Gbagbo's stance could plunge Cote d'Ivoire back into civil war.

But Gbagbo's supporters argued instead that it was the threat of military action by the West African bloc ECOWAS that posed a greater risk.

The ECOWAS move was part of a Western plot directed by France and the United States, who were undermining Ivorian electoral procedures in order to propel Ouattara into power, Gbagbo told Le Figaro.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Cote d'Ivoire faces general strike amid political unrest

About the broadcaster:

Cote d'Ivoire faces general strike amid political unrest

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.