Monday, December 6, 2010

All's Not Quiet on the West African Front

Things are a bit tense in the Ivory Coast at the moment.  A week ago, the West African nation held a presidential election and the winner was the opposition candidate, Alassane Ouattara.  But despite this announcement by the nation's top election official and certification of the finding by the United Nations, over the weekend, the incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo declared himself the winner as well.  And to keep a lid on the situation Mr. Gbagbo's government sealed the borders and blocked foreign radio and television broadcasts.

And what, you might ask, does this have to do with Paris? Well, because the Côte d'Ivoire was once a French colony, Paris is home to a number of expatriates and immigrants from there.  Just how many I can't tell you because the French Republic doesn't keep numbers on that sort of thing.  Suffice it to say that on Saturday, despite the frigid temperatures, somewhere between 100 and 500 protesters assembled by the embassy of the Côte d'Ivoire to signal their displeasure with Gbagbo's actions.  The police  were out in force and fully prepared for the worst, dressed in full riot gear, blocking off access to the embassy for several blocks on either side with both their large white vans and lines of police officers carrying plexiglass shields.  I was in too much of a hurry to stop to photograph the scene (and frankly a little worried about how that might be perceived).  Yesterday morning, as you can see from the photo above, all was quiet.


Starman said...

So much for the façade of an "fair and honest election".

Linda said...

Thanks for explaining the protest. My son and I walked though the demonstration on the way home from a march de Noel, not knowing what it was about. We are also American expats here since August 2009, with 3 kids and a dog.
I just started reading your great blog just a few days before. It inspired me to take my camera everywhere so I did snap a few pics.

Related Posts with Thumbnails