News / Africa

Young Patriots Threaten Protests and More in Ivory Coast

Young Patriots are threatening a return to the streets where they have won previous victories for incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. (File Photo)
Young Patriots are threatening a return to the streets where they have won previous victories for incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo. (File Photo)
Nico Colombant

So-called Young Patriots who support incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo in Ivory Coast are now threatening street protests against his rival, internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara.  

Friday, the Young Patriots leader who is now the Youth Minister in the disputed Gbagbo government, Charles Ble Goude, reiterated a warning against Mr. Ouattara and the United Nations. He says if after January first U.N. peacekeepers are still protecting Mr. Ouattara at the Golf Hotel in the main southern city Abidjan, Young Patriots will take their responsibilities in their own hands and liberate the compound.

Ble Goude says he is waiting to see if the peacekeepers will force Mr. Ouattara to leave.  If not, he says, Young Patriots will decide how to proceed.

The former student leader has been on a list of U.N. asset freeze and travel sanctions since 2006 for previously inciting mob violence.

After one of his previous actions several years ago forced international peace mediators to back down on requests they were making, Ble Goude had this to say to VOA. "Now this is a victory. Therefore I asked all the Young Patriots in discipline to leave the streets and to go home. The day I will see or I will feel the danger coming I will ask them to come back in the street again," he said.

Core members of the group include former and current student activists as well as unemployed young men from southern and western ethnic groups.

Stephen Smith, a U.S-based anthropologist who previously worked as a journalist in Ivory Coast says the Young Patriots could give the already worrisome Ivorian crisis a new dimension. "It is the struggle over the streets, it is the struggle of what Ivorians sometimes refer to as being the Ministry of the Street, which means who controls the public space, and if they can bring together the people maybe sometimes by paying but also obviously there are followers. (Mr.) Gbagbo got 45, 46 percent of the vote, so they are people who really stand behind him and if they all come together there can be 100,000, 200,000 people gathering in Abidjan, that intimidates, that makes other people feel that there is no way they will ever get (Mr.) Gbagbo to relinquish power," he said.

The Ivorian constitutional council threw out votes of the November, 28 election, from northern Ivory Coast, which remains under the control of former rebels, giving victory to Mr. Gbagbo.

But the United Nations which helped organize the vote said Mr. Ouattara, who is extremely popular in the north, had won the vote by a wide margin. International bodies are now threatening the use of force against Mr. Gbagbo if he does not leave power.

Daniel Chirot, a U.S.-based sociologist who saw Young Patriots up close during recent research he did in Ivory Coast, says a lot is at stake for their members. "You could see them, their leaders going around in nice cars, with guns, with pretty girls, and benefiting from the situation and they are not going to lie down. For them, if (Mr.) Gbagbo loses power, it is a disaster, because they lose their sources of revenue, their livelihood, and they are armed so it is not just a popular movement," he said.

The Young Patriots deny they are armed.  They say they are fighting for Africa's second independence from outside interference.  Their Ivorian political opponents say they are thugs who ally themselves with militias and mercenaries to create chaos whenever Mr. Gbagbo's power is under threat.  

Mr. Gbagbo's initial election victory in Ivory Coast in 2000 against a former military ruler was also marred by violence and confusion over ballot counting.  Two years later, the northern rebellion began, as did the Young Patriots southern-based movement.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid