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Ivorians Protest Food Prices; Government Bows to Pressure


One person has been killed and several others injured in protests against rising prices of food in Ivory Coast. Reports from the commercial capital, Abidjan, say protesters, mostly women and youths, blocked roads and fought with police for a second day of violent demonstations. Nancy Palus reports for VOA from Dakar the government is taking steps to lower prices.

On Tuesday, women in the Port Bouet neighborhood began marching in the morning and youths and other residents began pouring into the streets to join them.

Youths set up roadblocks and when they refused orders by the police to take them down, the two groups clashed.

Yomi Herman, who says he was at one of the roadblocks in Port Bouet, says during the clash an officer shot one of the young protesters. He says the young man was able to run away but the officer pursued him and shot him in the head.

Herman says other protesters carried the body away in a cart.

At least 10 people are reported to have been injured in the two days of demonstrations in Abidjan.

Responding to the mounting pressure, the Ivorian government Tuesday announced on national television it would take emergency measures to lower prices on basic goods.

Felix Tyeoulou-Dyela, secretary general of the government, said no country in the region has been spared a global rise in food prices.

Given the urgency of the situation, the government is temporarily suspending import taxes on several basic foods, including flour and rice, he said. The government is also taking measures to curb racketing that drives up the cost of many staple foods.

Ivory Coast is one of several countries in the region that has seen protests against the rising cost of living. In recent weeks, the prices of rice, cooking oil, sugar, milk as well as non-food items, such as cement, have risen sharply.


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