Ouattara backers protest at Ivory Coast Belgian embassy
About 50 supporters of internationally-recognised Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara demonstrated at the country's embassy in Brussels Wednesday in a call for the removal of its pro-Laurent Gbagbo ambassador, an AFP journalist reported.
Protesters carrying pictures of Ouattara managed to enter the embassy's courtyard but were prevented by police from entering the building, and left the scene without further incident.
Marie Gosset, named by Gbagbo, did not make an appearance. However, Sara Amani, named by Ouattara to represent the troubled west African country pending the nomination of a new ambassador, was hailed by the protesters as she arrived.
While she made no declaration, a spokesman for Belgium's foreign minister told AFP that Brussels would deal only with Amani.
"As Belgium has recognised Ouattara's victory (in disputed elections), we will henceforth deal only with that person," he said.
Three West African presidents charged with resolving the post-election crisis in Ivory Coast will return to Abidjan "next week," the president's office in Cape Verde said Wednesday.
The leaders of Benin, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone warned Gbagbo Tuesday to cede power or face regional military action by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
But Gbagbo, surrounded by a circle of hardline advisers in the Abidjan official residence where he is clinging to power, appeared determined to resist mounting international pressure.
© 2010 AFP