Youth supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara clash in Cocody

 On the eve of the second round of the presidential campaign, clashes have broken our between FESCI members (the pro-Gbagbo student union) and youths from the RHDP, an opposition coalition.


Screenshot of the video below.


On the eve of the second round of the presidential campaign, clashes have broken our between FESCI members (the pro-Gbagbo student union) and youths from the RHDP, an opposition coalition.


The second round of the electoral campaign was launched on Saturday 20 November. Laurent Gbagbo, the current president of Ivory Coast and LMP leader faces Alassane Dramane Ouattara, ex-prime minister who is campaigning under the auspices of the RHDP party


On Friday, following a run-in between students of the two political movements at the University of Cocody and the University of Mermoz, violence broke on the outskirts of both campuses. The headquarters of the RHDP was surrounded and badly damaged by thrown stones and 20 people were injured. A French journalist stated that he was cornered and assaulted by members of the FESCI (University and School Student Federation of Ivory Coast). He is currently in hospital in Abidjan. (Listen to his account in French)


The authorities called for calm during the night. The second round will take place on Sunday 28 November.


Images filmed and commented on by our Observer.


"Young people from the FESCI have all the rights, they are protected by the authorities"

Christian was in front of the HQ of the RHDP campaign (Alssanne Ouattara’s movement), when it was was attacked. He filmed the unfolding events.


I was at the Cocody Town Hall to pick up some papers and in passing saw unusual things happening in front of the PDCI (the old headquarters of Henri Konan Bedie of the PDCI, the modern day RHDP). As I drew near, I came across students with blood on their faces who were fleeing. I stayed for 45 minutes in front of the building to film intermittently. I received a beating when they saw me.


The young people who surrounded the building were especially angry, they were out of control. They had bottles and clubs and they were throwing all sorts of things. I saw two who had pistols, but I didn’t see them being used.


Speaking to people, I learnt that it had all started when the RHDP young people went to eat in a restaurant close to the University of Murmoz after a party meeting, close to where the FESCI headquarters is based. One of the young people was wearing a T-Shirt sporting the effigy of Alassane Ouattara. The boys at the FESCI took that as a provocation and beat them up. (According to a statement issued by the head of the FESCI, the RHDP youths had come to ‘kidnap’ one of them; it was therefore ‘legitimate defence’.) When the injured returned to the RHDP headquarters, others of the group decided to go back to the university to take vengeance. Whilst en route, they bumped into FESCI members who were ready for a fight. Most of the members of the RHDP had fled, but some had taken refuge in the party headquarters where they were attacked by their adversaries.


The police hardly bothered to intervene as officers have been injured in the past in clashes. (Read an account in French). It is always like that as the chief of police knows that the young people are protected by those in power. Everyone is scared of them these days. They have all the privileges. They run the university. Accommodation quotas are reserved for them and then they sublet then at a premium. They tax the businesses that are close to campus. One of them even has a nightclub on campus.


Furthermore, not all of the members of the student union are at the university. Some students who are not affiliated with the FESCI have been shoved aside to allow movement members who are housed and fed, and they are always ready to fight. The FESCI is used as an arm of the LMP."