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Côte d'Ivoire: Gbagbo Resists, Africans Protest

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011

While former Côte d'Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo is still holed up in a bunker in the country, resisting arrest for continuing to deny his loss of the 2010 presidential election, the participation of France in the bid to oust him is raising reactions amongst French politicians and citizens [fr], as well as within the African community in France.

Pro-Gbagbo protests in Paris, France, March 26, 2011. Image by Flickr user anw.fr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Pro-Gbagbo protests in Paris, France, March 26, 2011. Image by Flickr user anw.fr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

From Paris to Douala

On April 6, 2011, a demonstration was organised in front of the French National Assembly in Paris, as a series of videos posted by YouTube user Mamou922 shows. In the following one, we see the crowd facing French forces protecting a public building:

On April 5, 2011, in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon, Moto Taxi drivers gathered downtown in order to show their support to Laurent Gbagbo. The following video was posted on Wat TV by Gri-Gri International, a news blog:

One of the interviewees in the video explains :

The problem of Côte d'Ivoire concerns all Africans […] we warn the international community and France to stop what they are doing in Côte d'Ivoire […]

Referring to what happened in Cameroon during the war of independence in the country, he adds:

Today we are understanding that it's true that France killed our parents 50 years ago

Embassy difficulties

French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet reported [fr] to the French Senate Commission on Foreign Affairs on the morning of April 7, 2011. He reported that the forces protecting Laurent Gbagbo number around 1,000 and explained that the main difficulty regarding the intervention of the presidential palace in Cocody (where Gbagbo is hiding) is the presence of numerous foreign embassies surrounding it. The latter are fast becoming strategical and tactical points:

French newspaper JDD posted on its Facebook page the rescue by the French UNICORN military force of the Japanese Ambassador from his residence in Abidjan, which was invaded by mercenaries on the night of April 6. The video source is the French Ministry of Defence:

According to Jeune Afrique, the main African French language magazine, 100 Angolan special forces [fr] are backing Gbagbo's militaries who are protecting the presidential bunker where the former leader is still hiding.

This post is part of our special coverage Côte d'Ivoire Unrest 2011

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