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At least 10 injured in Ivory Coast in post-election riots

Source: Reuters - Mon, 22 Apr 2013 19:33 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Candidates' supporters clash with police

* Polls mark first local elections in a decade

By Loucoumane Coulibaly

ABIDJAN, April 22 (Reuters) - Rioters erected makeshift barricades and burned tyres in parts of Ivory Coast on Monday to protest at the results of local elections, witnesses said.

Police used teargas to break up the demonstrations by supporters of losing candidates, who took to the streets even before the elections commission, the CEI, began announcing official results. Ten people were injured.

The world's top cocoa grower, Ivory Coast is emerging from a decade of political crisis, which saw it split between northern rebels and government loyalists in the south following a failed coup in 2002.

A presidential poll in 2010 was meant to draw a line under the unrest, but incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to accept defeat at the hands of rival Alassane Ouattara unleashed a brief civil war that killed around 3,000 people.

Voting in Sunday's local and regional elections - the first such polls in a more than a decade - was largely calm, although incidents of vandalism and ballot box theft occurred in nine of the country's 197 administrative districts, or communes.

"Youths went to the local CEI office this morning to contest the results," said Ibrahima Kone, a local official in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast's administrative capital.

"The police broke it up with teargas. Ten were injured in the scuffle and in the police chase. One of their leaders was arrested," he said.

Smaller incidents occurred in other parts of the West African nation, including the Koumassi neighbourhood in the commercial capital Abidjan.

"The police dispersed young men who were blocking traffic on some streets with burning tyres. They disagreed with the results. The police chased them off with teargas," said Matene Toure, a shopkeeper in Koumassi.

Gbabgo's FPI party boycotted the polls, which the CEI said were largely successful despite the violence on Monday.

"All in all, we can say that things went well," CEI spokesman Inza Diomande said, following the announcement of the first results on Monday afternoon.

Gbagbo is awaiting trial before the International Criminal Court on charges he was responsible for crimes against humanity committed during the post-presidential election violence. (Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alison Williams)

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