Ivory Coast: Price Rise Riot
Laurent Gbagbo cancelled custom duties and cut taxes on staples
After a second day of violent protests against price rise, President Laurent Gbagbo cancelled custom duties and also cut taxes on basic household products to stabilize prices and prevent any similar protest.
Photo: On March 31st, about 15 people were injured in clashes during a demonstration against price rise. The protest came after rises in the price of staples such as rice, salt, sugar, oil, meat, and after the spicy speech that Konan Bedie, the ex-President of Ivory Coast delivered on March 29th.
Violent demonstrations against the rising coast of living have shaken Abidjan, the economic hub of Ivory Coast these last two days, Monday 31st and Tuesday 1st April 2008. These demonstrations began to spread to the other towns of the country where populations also faced rising food prices.
Yesterday morning, April 1st, at around 11.am, in an attempt to disperse the growing number of demonstrators who set up barricades and burned tyres to close major roads, the Anti-riot police fired on protestors and gunn down the young demonstrator, SEA Abel, in Port Bouët Gonzagueville, a seaside suburb of Abidjan. The Anti-riot police also injured around 39 demonstrators and made many arrests.
The demonstrators started to confront Anti-riot police and ransack public buildings as the news about the assassination of the young demonstrator SEA Abel spread out.
In the afternoon, at 4.pm, the Secretary General of the Government, Tyeoulou Felix announced on the National TV Channel that the government has immediately decided to cancel custom duties on imported staples and cut taxes on the basic household products; rice, sugar, milk, fish, flour, oil, canned tomatoes, cement. He then begged the demonstrators to withdraw from the streets. On 8.pm, the President Laurent Gbagbo delivered a speech focussing the price rise issue aired on the National Radio and TV channels, RTI. He has appealed for calm and has invited the leaders of all the national consumers associations and the economic operators to a talk at the presidency.
No demonstration has been witnessed this morning in the streets, the concern of all the Ivorian citizens and non nationals living in Ivory Coast focuses the pending price stabilization discussions.