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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs