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Cablegate: Gbagbo Rocking the Boat; Opposition Sticks Toe In

VZCZCXRO9323
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHAB #1349 3411652
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071652Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2246
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ABIDJAN 001349

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL IV UN
SUBJECT: GBAGBO ROCKING THE BOAT; OPPOSITION STICKS TOE IN
THE WATER

1. (U) After a tumultuous week in the political landscape
with Gbagbo's takeover of both the State-owned newspaper
Fraternite Matin and state Radio and Television (RTI), and
his reinstatement of three senior offials who were implicated
in the toxic waste disaster but are Gbagbo cronies, this week
Ivoirian opposition groups tried to rally their supporters
and take the conflict to the streets. However, they were
successful in mounting only relatively small,disparate and
muted street protests in Abidjan. On Monday, December 4, the
youth wing of the Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and
Peace (RHDP) called their followers into the streets, vowing
to make Abidjan a "dead city" ("ville morte"), but without
significant success. There were confirmed reports of
opposition supporters assembling on the streets of
Treichville and Marcory sectors and reports of two buses
burning in Koumassi and shooting and tear gas use in Zone 4.
There were no reported deaths or injuries in Abidjan. The
security and defense forces, responding rapidly, prevented
them from causing serious disruptions and by mid-morning
Abidjan was quiet.

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2. (U) Opposition groups have managed more successful
demonstrations outside of Abidjan. Last week small
demonstrations protesting the decrees were staged in several
cities and resulted in numerous people being wounded and two
killed in Toumodi. Youth leaders of the RHDP say this is
only the beginning and are giving President Gbagbo until next
Thursday to rescind his recent decrees concerning RTI
otherwise they threaten to incite protests until Gbagbo
resigns. It remains to be seen how many people they are able
to get in the streets.
Hooks

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