Weeks of post-election tension exploded on the streets of Ivory Coast’s capital, Abidjan, Thursday.
Clashes erupted when supporters of opposition leader Alassane Ouattara – whose election victory has been acknowledged by the U.N., U.S., France and the African Union – took to the streets in an attempt to take over the national television station to install a new state television chief.
The Ivory Coast has been operating with two presidents and two governments since a disputed Nov. 28 runoff. Ouattara was declared the winner by the country's electoral commission. But the next day, the constitutional council – controlled by the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo – overturned those results and declared victory.
Ouattara’s supporters marched Thursday in an attempt to take over the country’s only television broadcasters. The TV stations have been a powerful voice for the incumbent Gbagbo who despite losing the election – is still declaring victory on the state controlled TV.
At least four people were killed in the clashes by mid-day Thursday after forces loyal to Gbagbo fired live rounds at marchers supporting Ouattara, witnesses said.
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Two wounded protestors lie on the street (at L) as troops loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo clash with supporters of Alssane Ouattara on December 16, 2010 in the popular Aboboa district of Abidjan.
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The hand of supporter of Alassane Ouattara reportedly killed by Ivorian police and army forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo on December 16, 2010 in Abidjan.
Kambou Sia / AFP - Getty Images
Supporters of Alassane Ouattara, who has claimed to have won last month's presidential election, stand near burning tyres on December 16, 2010 during a protest in the Koumassi district of Abidjan.
Police patrol a street in Abidjan on December 16, 2010.