Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Gangs of young men blocked roads and burned cars in Abidjan and other cities this week, in a protest against President Laurent Gbagbo's handling of a toxic-waste dumping scandal. Gbagbo recently reinstated three top officials who had been suspended for their roles in the scandal. Last August, sludge was dumped in the open air at several sites around Abidjan, and the fumes killed 10 people. "Gbagbo has restored assassins from the toxic-waste affair," said youth leader Kouadio Konan Berti. "Ivorians cannot accept that." Gbagbo further inflamed public opinion when he sent one of his militias to lock Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny out of his office. Banny has been investigating the scandal. Ivory Coast has been split between a rebel-held north and government-controlled south since 2002, when a coup attempt against Gbagbo sparked a civil war.
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