Ivory Coast marks Gbagbo fall anniversary

2012-04-11 22:05

Abidjan - Ivory Coast marked the first anniversary of Wednesday of the fall of Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down after presidential elections and was arrested for his role in the ensuing violence.

The west African nation was plunged into crisis in late 2010 when Gbagbo would not yield to Alassane Ouattara, who was internationally recognised as the victor in the polls.

An ensuing stand-off claimed some 3 000 lives and Gbagbo was arrested by pro-Ouattara ex-rebels, aided by United Nations troops and French forces.

Outtara and his cabinet on Wednesday marked the anniversary with a minute's silence for those killed in the violence, according to state television.

The president's political party was planning a rally in a working class neighbourhood in the nation's economic capital Abidjan.

"It will be a moment of sharing intense memories and painful reminders," rally organiser Alex Bamba Souleymane said. "The collective conscience will never forget the evils of this fratricidal war, planned and commanded by the old regime."

Gbagbo's political party, the Ivorian Popular Front, organised a debate at its headquarters to commemorate their leader's ousting.

The anniversary was heavily noted by Ivory Coast's press, with pronouncements falling along predictable party lines.

The pro-Gbagbo newspaper Notre Voie denounced his departure as being precipitated by France, the country's former colonial power.

"In truth, Ivory Coast remains very politically, economically and socially divided," the paper wrote.

Following his arrest, Gbagbo was surrendered to the International Criminal Court, where he faces four counts of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence.

The daily newspaper Le Patriote, which is close to President Ouattara, marked the anniversary with a headline stating: "It was a year ago that Gbagbo was captured and the people liberated."

The state newspaper Fraternite-Matin called on Ivorians to learn lessons from the chaos.

"Ivorians... should ask themselves, 'What is my part in what happened in my country?'" the paper wrote.

Twelve months after the turmoil, signs of progress abound in Abidjan, which is dotted with construction sites and has hotels filled with foreign business executives who want a piece of the new boom in the world's biggest cocoa producer.

Growth this year is expected to surpass eight percent, maintaining Ivory Coast as the economic powerhouse among the region's French-speaking countries.

Read more on:    alassane ouattara  |  laurent gbagbo  |  ivory coast  |  west africa

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