Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Electoral Commission (CEI) headquarters in the Cocody-Deux Plateaux area of Abidjan on Thursday, August 6, to protest against the exclusion of former President Laurent Gbagbo from the upcoming October presidential election. Demonstrators reportedly burned tires and were dispersed by police using tear gas. The US Embassy in Abidjan released a security alert warning of groups of protesters moving around the Riviera 2, Deux Plateaux, and Boulevard des Martyrs areas, as the protests appear to have spread to pockets throughout the capital upon being dispersed.
Further unrest is expected in the coming hours, and further demonstrations are to be expected in the build-up to the election, which are likely to be accompanied by a heightened security presence and localized disruptions.
Political tension is building in Cote d'Ivoire ahead of the October 2020 election. Most of the unrest has revolved around the exclusion of Gbagbo and some of his allies from running in the election because of their criminal convictions. The electoral commission has said it will consider their appeals against their exclusions; however, protests were witnessed in Abidjan on Monday, August 3 over the issue, and further protests are likely in the capital and other major urban centers in the lead-up to the election.
Those in Abidjan and throughout Cote d'Ivoire are advised to keep abreast of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and election-related events as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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