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Ivory Coast Capital Under Heavy Military Guard - 2004-03-26


The main city in divided Ivory Coast, Abidjan, is under heavy military guard after an aborted protest by the opposition resulted in at least 25 deaths on Thursday. The opposition plans to hold another march.

Dozens of opposition militants wearing white tee-shirts at the headquarters of the former ruling P-D-C-I party say they will only leave the compound if they are allowed to march.

Police blocked their effort to march on Thursday in favor of the stalled peace deal with northern rebels.

But the secretary-general of the P-D-C-I, Djedje Mady, says his militants will remain defiant.

Mr. Mady says they are fighting to also protect democracy and civil rights in Ivory Coast.

In the poor Abobo neighborhood, where two policemen were killed Thursday, running street battles were reported Friday between opposition militants and youth groups close to President Laurent Gbagbo.

The opposition and the government disagree on how to implement the peace deal, which was signed more than a year ago.

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