Gabonese official on hunger strike against French forces

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A Gabonese government adviser, Roland Desire Aba'a, on Thursday began a hunger strike in protest against the presence of French troops in his country.

Wearing a green, yellow and blue scarf, the colours of the Gabonese tricolor flag, he used July 14 -- the Bastille Day holiday in France -- to launch his protest against the former colonial power.

"I want to show my attachment to my country and to free myself from France. To free us from supposedly legal agreements which prevent the real development of our country," said Aba'a, a member of the national economic and social council.

Attaching himself to a Gabonese flag in Independence Square, near a monument to the war dead, he said: "We are in front of the monument to the dead (of the two world wars). If I fall because I want to free my country from the claws of France, you can throw me at the monument."

He vowed not to end his protest until French forces leave the country.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon is due in Gabon for a visit on Saturday.

© 2011 AFP

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