COTE D'IVOIRE: Government curbs prices after second day of confrontations

Friday, April 4, 2008

Cote d’Ivoire’s government has announced emergency measures to cut prices of food and basic services following protests against the cost of living, but demonstrators have warned they are ready to go back on to the streets as soon as prices creep up again.

The government has promised to temporarily suspend taxes on staple goods including rice, oil, milk, flour, sugar and fish, in a statement released on 1 April.

Francois Kablan, spokesperson for the Ivorian Consumers Association (ACCI) which organised protests on 31 March Said that the price reductions must be immediate. “If tomorrow [2 April] prices are not falling as promised by the government, we will go back out on the street even more determined to fight,” he warned.

Protests on 31 March started in the Abidjan neighbourhoods of Cocody and Yopougon. There were more clashes between riot police and demonstrators in both districts in the morning of 1 April.

In poor neighbourhood close to the airport, Port-Bouët, one civilian was reportedly killed on 1 April by riot police and 20 other demonstrators were wounded.

According to the independent newspaper L’Inter, government officials have warned newspapers against covering the food price protests.

State run media in Cote d’Ivoire has not reported on the demonstrations.

Source: IRIN