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

    Video How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Scientists Detect Gravitational Waves in Landmark Discovery

    Researchers likened discovery to difference between looking at piece of music on paper and then hearing it in real life

    Prince Ali: FIFA Politics Affected International Fixtures

    Some countries faced unfavorable treatment for not toeing political line inside soccer world body, Jordanian candidate to head FIFA says

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.