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Ivory Coast newspapers protest over alleged harassment

Over half a dozen newspapers say staff have received physical threats for weeks. Meanwhile, MSF says freezing state accounts will have disastrous effect on medical system.

Jordanian UN soldiers driving in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, yesterday.
Jordanian UN soldiers driving in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

NEWSPAPERS IN IVORY COAST have closed down in protest over alleged harassment from supports of Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo claims to have won the country’s presidential elections three months ago, despite his opponent Alassane Ouattara being widely considered the victor.

Nine newspapers claim their staff has been receiving physical threats for the past two months, according to the BBC.

The AP reports that the regional central bank head-quartered in Senegal has frozen Gbagbo’s access to state accounts, while major international banks have already suspended their operations in Ivory Coast.

Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) told TheJournal.ie this week that it has increased its medical support to Ivory Coast due to the escalating violence in recent days. The organisation says that freezing the country’s assets has caused a cash shortage which means less money is available to purchase medical supplies.

In a statement released on Monday, MSF’s emergency desk manager Mego Terzian said that the “supply systems for medicines is seriously impeded by the paralysis of the banking system. Medical structures risk running short of medical supplies in the coming weeks”.

Tens of thousands of people have already fled the violence and crossed the border into Liberia. Yesterday, the UNHCR said that it was receiving reports of dead bodies in the streets of Abidjan as well as looting and burned-out buses.

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