Côte d'Ivoire

Violent protests against peace deal in Côte d'Ivoire

by Tope Akinwande in Abidjan
Red Cross volunteers have been assisting victims of violent protests that have shaken different parts of Abidjan since Saturday.

Thousands of government supporters took to the streets on Saturday to protest against the peace deal signed in Linas-Marcoussis, France, between the government and armed opposition groups that have been fighting since September 2002.

Protesters attacked French installations, schools and cultural centers in Abidjan. They felt that the French government had forced the Ivorian government to accept a peace deal that would not favour them.

According to Boko Coffi, secretary-general of the Cote d'Ivoire Red Cross, some 100 volunteers, comprising medical doctors, nurses and first aid workers have been attending to wounded victims while evacuating the seriously injured to the three teaching hospitals in Abidjan.

"Our volunteers treated most of the wounded around the French military base where protesters had gone to manifest their anger", says Boko Coffi. "Most of them were injured while trying to avoid tear gas canisters. We have so far treated 104 persons and evacuated 14 seriously injured ones"

The Cote d'Iboire Red Cross has set up a temporary first aid base at its headquarters where wounded protesters can come for treatment.

Volunteers are being mobilized in other parts of the country where protests are anticipated in the coming days.

"We have called on our volunteers in the interior of the country to be on alert", says Boubacar Diaby, Information and Dissemination Coordinator at the Cote d'Ivoire Red Cross. "We are monitoring the situation and will assist if necessary."