Ivory Coast Military Guns Down 6 Women Protesters

Laurent Gbagbo has been shelling suburban town
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 3, 2011 2:15 PM CST
Security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo stand guard on a main thoroughfare after firing to disperse women protesters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 3, 2011.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
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(Newser) – Security forces loyal to the man clinging to power in Ivory Coast fatally shot six women protesting Laurent Gbagbo's refusal to leave office. The demonstrators were cut down by machine gunfire in Abobo, the suburb that has been the scene of the bloodiest clashes in the 3-month-old crisis. An assistant mayor there said an armored personnel carrier and several pickups showed up as the women were protesting and opened fire.

Last week, Gbagbo's security forces entered Abobo and began shelling the neighborhood with mortars, a shocking escalation from a conflict mainly fought with guns to one fought with war-grade weapons. At least 200,000 people have fled the suburb, according to the UN. International observers say Gbagbo lost the Ivory Coast's last presidential election, but he has refused to step down; almost 400 people have been killed in the conflict, almost all supporters of Alassane Ouattara.

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