Ivory Coast soldiers kill unarmed women protesters

The conflict in Ivory Coast has taken an ugly new turn as President Laurent Gbagbo’s soldiers opened fire on a group of unarmed women protesters on Thursday.  Six women were killed during the brutal attack and many more were wounded.  The UK Telegraph reports:

 

Sirah Drane, 41, who helped organise the march, said she was holding the megaphone and preparing to address the large crowd that had gathered at a traffic circle in Abobo.  “That’s when we saw the tanks,” she said.  “There were thousands of women.  And we said to ourselves ‘They won’t shoot at women’…I heard a boom.  They started spraying us…I tried to run and fell down.  The others trampled me.  Opening fire on unarmed women?  It’s inconceivable.”

 

The three month old conflict has now claimed 400 civilian lives as the corrupt regime of President Gbagbo has refused to surrender power.  Most of the dead were supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara who is widely believed to have won last November’s presidential election.  United Nations certified results showed that Ouattara won the race by half a million votes over Gbagbo, however the Ivory Coast strong man charged the U.N. observers with interfering in his nation’s internal affairs and demanded that they leave the country.

 

March organizer Sirah Drane, who serves as executive secretary of the women’s division of Ouattara’s Democratic Republican Rally Party said the women decided to protest because “Every time that one of our men goes out, he is cut down.”  Drane said that she and her fellow protesters “want to say to Mr. Gbagbo who lost this election that he needs to leave.”

 

Women’s marches have a long history in Ivory Coast, and women have stepped in at critical moments, said Elizabeth Jouhair, a women’s organiser with an umbrella party allied with Ouattara.

 

“Before independence, it was the women marched to Bassam to free our leaders from jail,” she said.  “Now it’s our turn to free our president once more.”

 

The United States has recognized Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate President of Ivory Coast and has asked Gbagbo to step down.  According to allAfrica.com, Mr. Gbagbo received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sometime after the election, in which she offered him a well- paid teaching position at Boston University if he would cede power to Ouattara.

                                                                                                                                                                  After Thursday’s killings U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said “The moral bankruptcy of Laurent Gbagbo is evident as his security forces killed women protesters” in a Twitter message.

 

One can’t help but wonder about the moral solvency of Mrs. Clinton’s plan to bribe the corrupt Ivory Coast leader with a position on the faculty of Boston University.  Would Gbagbo be lecturing his students on ethics or good government? 

 

With mounting casualties among Ouattara’s supporters there has been a shift in tactics from peaceful opposition to armed resistance among his more aggressive factions.  Unless Gbagbo can be persuaded to leave Ivory Coast the country appears headed for civil war.  Perhaps if Mrs. Clinton could arrange for Gbagbo to be appointed as dean at Harvard Law School he would stop the bloodshed.

 

March 6, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

The conflict in Ivory Coast has taken an ugly new turn as President Laurent Gbagbo’s soldiers opened fire on a group of unarmed women protesters on Thursday.  Six women were killed during the brutal attack and many more were wounded.  The UK Telegraph reports:

 

Sirah Drane, 41, who helped organise the march, said she was holding the megaphone and preparing to address the large crowd that had gathered at a traffic circle in Abobo.  “That’s when we saw the tanks,” she said.  “There were thousands of women.  And we said to ourselves ‘They won’t shoot at women’…I heard a boom.  They started spraying us…I tried to run and fell down.  The others trampled me.  Opening fire on unarmed women?  It’s inconceivable.”

 

The three month old conflict has now claimed 400 civilian lives as the corrupt regime of President Gbagbo has refused to surrender power.  Most of the dead were supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara who is widely believed to have won last November’s presidential election.  United Nations certified results showed that Ouattara won the race by half a million votes over Gbagbo, however the Ivory Coast strong man charged the U.N. observers with interfering in his nation’s internal affairs and demanded that they leave the country.

 

March organizer Sirah Drane, who serves as executive secretary of the women’s division of Ouattara’s Democratic Republican Rally Party said the women decided to protest because “Every time that one of our men goes out, he is cut down.”  Drane said that she and her fellow protesters “want to say to Mr. Gbagbo who lost this election that he needs to leave.”

 

Women’s marches have a long history in Ivory Coast, and women have stepped in at critical moments, said Elizabeth Jouhair, a women’s organiser with an umbrella party allied with Ouattara.

 

“Before independence, it was the women marched to Bassam to free our leaders from jail,” she said.  “Now it’s our turn to free our president once more.”

 

The United States has recognized Alassane Ouattara as the legitimate President of Ivory Coast and has asked Gbagbo to step down.  According to allAfrica.com, Mr. Gbagbo received a letter from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sometime after the election, in which she offered him a well- paid teaching position at Boston University if he would cede power to Ouattara.

                                                                                                                                                                  After Thursday’s killings U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said “The moral bankruptcy of Laurent Gbagbo is evident as his security forces killed women protesters” in a Twitter message.

 

One can’t help but wonder about the moral solvency of Mrs. Clinton’s plan to bribe the corrupt Ivory Coast leader with a position on the faculty of Boston University.  Would Gbagbo be lecturing his students on ethics or good government? 

 

With mounting casualties among Ouattara’s supporters there has been a shift in tactics from peaceful opposition to armed resistance among his more aggressive factions.  Unless Gbagbo can be persuaded to leave Ivory Coast the country appears headed for civil war.  Perhaps if Mrs. Clinton could arrange for Gbagbo to be appointed as dean at Harvard Law School he would stop the bloodshed.

 

March 6, 2011

 

paboehmke@yahoo.com

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