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

Italian Red Cross Chief: Don't Label Migrants 'Illegal'

Speaking at the United Nations headquarters in New York Wednesday Francesco Rocca says migrants are victims, not criminals More

US Intel Officials Cautious About New IS Threat

Threat, said to have been posted by alleged American member of Islamic State terror group, says Sunday’s attack in Texas ‘is only the beginning’ More

Eyes in Sky Monitor Weather, Predict Epidemics

Satellites track storms, population movements, ocean warming to predict disease conditions 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.
Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailandi
X
May 05, 2015 5:50 PM
Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Mass Grave Exposes Entrenched Trafficking in Thailand

Police in southern Thailand have found two more camps believed to have held human trafficking victims -- one containing a buried skeleton. This comes just days after officials announced arrests in connection with the grisly discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave at another location. Officials suspect as many as 400 mostly ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar were being held for ransom at the remote camp near the Malaysian border. Steve Sandford reports on developments in the case.
Video

Video Russia's 'Victory Day' Glory Over Nazis Overshadowed by Ukraine

ussia is preparing to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, known since the Soviet era as “The Great Patriotic War,” with a massive parade on May 9th of military hardware and millions of medals handed out to veterans or their relatives. But critics say the Soviet-style display of power and nationalism overshadows tragic scars during and after the war that still influence politics and foreign policy, especially in the current Ukraine crisis.
Video

Video WWII Anniversary Brings Old Friends and New Worries

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II has special significance, with Russia becoming more assertive in Ukraine and sending its military planes to the edges of western countries’ airspace. Changes in the geostrategic balance and the transatlantic relationship are felt across the continent, not least in German towns that have hosted U.S. military bases since the defeat of Nazi Germany. VOA’s Al Pessin visited Schweinfurt, Germany, where a large base closed last year.
Video

Video Abraham Lincoln Funeral Re-created for 150th Civil War Anniversary

Over the last four years, commemorative events to mark the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Civil War have brought thousands of visitors to battlefields and historic landmarks across the country. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, the final event in the Civil War's sesquicentennial honors the final journey home of the slain American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Video

Video Campaign Raises Money to 'Uncuff' Journalists

Beginning Sunday – World Press Freedom Day – the Committee to Protect Journalists, a private U.S. group, is launching a campaign to bring attention to their plight and encourage efforts to free them. Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Volunteers Pull Together to Aid Baltimore Riot Victims

Calm has returned to Baltimore, Maryland, after authorities lifted an overnight curfew imposed almost a week ago to stem the rioting that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray - the 25-year-old black man who died of spinal injuries suffered while in police custody. Six police officers, three of them African-American, have been charged in connection with his death. Baltimore is now trying to get back to normal, in part with the help of volunteers who responded to calls to help those in the city'
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Obama Praises Work of 3 Immigrant Journalists

President Barack Obama met with three immigrant journalists at the White House Friday to praise them for their work ahead of World Press Freedom Day, May 3. In attendance: Dieu Cay (his pen name) a blogger from Vietnam recently released from prison; Lily Mengesha from Ethiopia who was harassed and detained for exposing the marrying off of young girls as child brides, and Fatima Tlisova, an ethnic Circassian from the North Caucasus region of Russia, who works for VOA's Russian Service.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

VOA Blogs