Unrest was reported across Cote d'Ivoire on Saturday, October 31, as polling stationed opened for the presidential election. Road blockages, traffic disruptions, and violent and unruly protests were reported in multiple urban centers, as well as looting and vandalism targeting local Electoral Commission (CEI) offices. The most significant unrest took place in Abidjan, with several people reportedly being killed.
Heightened security measures should be anticipated in the vicinity of any demonstrations, particularly as a ban on gatherings remains in place amid COVID-19 restrictions. Further election-related unrest is likely across the country in the near term.
President Alassane Ouattara has announced 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 several fatalities and dozens of arrests.
Those in Cote 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 or on social media, and heed all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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