News24

Ouattara backers seize embassy in Mali

2010-12-29 16:10

Bamako - Malian police on Wednesday evacuated supporters of Ivory Coast's would-be president Alassane Ouattara who seized the country's embassy demanding the exit of Laurent Gbagbo, according to an AFP reporter.

Some 40 youths were removed from the embassy which was surrounded by police after the brief occupation, but diplomatic staff did not return after earlier being asked to leave by the pro-Ouattara group.

The occupiers said they took over the embassy to enforce a strike recently called by Ouattara, which was not widely observed in Ivorian economic hub Abidjan.

"Then Gbagbo's team must leave. We are waiting for the new ambassador appointed by Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara," said Maxime Konan, one of the occupiers.

A portrait of Gbagbo was removed by Ouatarra's supporters who chanted "Gbagbo, thief, leave power, it is Ouattara who won".

The majority of Ivorians living in Mali are supporters of Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of November 28 presidential elections.

Gbagbo has refused to step aside, despite growing international pressure and the threat of military intervention.