Protesters gathered in Abidjan and other cities on Friday, August 21, amid continued demonstrations against President Alassane Ouattara's intention to seek a third term in upcoming presidential elections. Police dispersed a march held by women in the Yopougon area of Abidjan, and increased numbers of security forces were reported in the Cocody area. In the Gesco area of the city, security forces dispersed protesters who burned tires on the road connecting Abidjan to Yamoussoukro. An initially peaceful march was held in Bonoua (Comoé district); however, protesters later erected barricades on major roads, set fire to buses, and engaged in intercommunal clashes. The prefect of South Comoé subsequently decreed that a curfew would be in place between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) in Bonoua until August 27. Hundreds of protesters also gathered in Gagnoa (Gôh-Djiboua district), while in Abengourou (Comoé district), police dispersed demonstrators. The gatherings took place despite the suspension of public demonstrations by authorities until September 15.
Further unrest is likely across Côte d'Ivoire in the near term. A heightened security presence is likely, along with disruptions to overland travel.
Ouattara announced on August 7, that he would be standing for a third term in presidential elections scheduled to be held on October 31 The president had been expected to stand down at the end of his current term, but the sudden death of his expected successor, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, on July 8 left the ruling RHDP coalition with no clear candidate going into the polls. However, Ouattara's decision to stand again has been opposed by the opposition and civil society groups. Unrest linked to the issue has resulted in six fatalities, over 100 injuries, and 69 arrests.
Those in Côte d'Ivoire are advised to monitor developments and remain apprised of the political situation, avoid all public demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, avoid discussing sensitive political topics in public, and obey all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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