On March 24, dozens of people were killed by the army and police in a demonstration against the regime of President Gbagbo in Abidjan, capital of the Ivory Coast. There are 4,500 French soldiers and 1,500 troops from various African countries stationed in the Ivory Coast, supposedly to ‘ensure peace in the country.’ In fact, however, these troops have once again acted more as the accomplices of the murderous gangs of Gbagbo. We publish here the statement of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast and the communiqué of the Workers’ Communist Party of France.
Tens are dead (37 according to the authorities, 350 according to the organisers of the demonstration), hundreds are disappeared, hundreds are injured and many homes were broken into! Such is the scale of the repression by the authorities against the demonstration organized by certain parties who signed the Linas-Marcoussis accord,(1) who wanted to express their discontent with the manner in which the president of the republic is carrying out these accords.
This march, as usual, had been prohibited on the grounds that it was an attempt at insurrection. This is the manner in which the bourgeois authorities succeed one another and regroup themselves in our country. In fact, since 1990, it is rare when the authorities do not consider demonstrations as an attempt at ‘destabilisation of the institutions of the republic.’ The gagging of liberties remains the main trend of political practice in the Ivory Coast and the promises of democracy and freedom for the people of the Ivory Coast are far from being realised.
The authorities are again shouting about destabilisation and, once again, the people of the Ivory Coast are living through a drama. All the attempts by the propaganda apparatus of the authorities to cover it up cannot hide the sad reality of the bloodbath that has just taken place.
The Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast is deeply saddened by this slaughter which is totally unjustified and that shocks the human conscience. The Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast bows before the memory of all these young people who have been killed for simply wanting to enjoy their rights as citizens while taking part in a peaceful demonstration. It wishes a quick recovery to the hundreds of injured and expresses its support to all those who were brutalised and attacked in one way or another.
In his address to the nation on Friday March 26, 2004, the president of the republic promised to shed light on these events. The organisers of the demonstration, for their part, have demanded the formation of an international investigation commission with the same goal, that of shedding light on what happened. The committee to uphold the Linas-Marcoussis accords has called for the same thing.
To avoid the continual betrayal of promises, the people of the Ivory Coast must be vigilant to ensure that the investigation that has been promised and demanded is effectively carried out. Therefore, the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast joins in every initiative that demands that the authorities carry out the promise they have made and it supports the demand for an international commission made by the organisers of the demonstration and by the committee to uphold the accords.
The Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast considers that freedom, democracy and human rights are being undermined day by day in the Ivory Coast. The repression affects every free citizen, every household, every ethnic or religious community. The only way to escape the repression is to support the authorities of the FPI(2) or to keep silent. Thus the Ivory Coast has fully become a State with no rights. This demands that all democrats and all who care about justice and freedom organise themselves to win the right of freedom to think and organise, for the defence of democracy and human rights, as they did in 1990.
Therefore, the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast condemns the repression carried out on March 25 and launches an urgent appeal to the democrats, to the masses of workers and peasants, to the youth, that they become join with it in the fight for a Democratic and Modern Republic.
Abidjan, March 30, 2004
For the Central Committee
General Secretary, Achy EKISSI
1) Linas-Marcoussis – Locality near Paris at which the parties involved in the civil war signed peace accords on January 24, 2003, with French mediation.
2) FPI – Popular Front of the Ivory Coast, in power since 1995.
Solidarity with the Members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast and its Youth Organization
On June 23, between 3:00 and 3:30 PM, a group of some fifty people invaded the residence of Ekissi Achy at Yopougon-Sideci [on the outskirts of the capital of Abidjan – translator’s note].
Ekissi Achy is general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast (PCRCI), a legal party that publishes a journal, Proletarian Revolution. The assailants, who wore t-shirts with the logo of the High School and University Federation of the Ivory Coast (Fesci), broke everything: doors, windows, computer equipment… stealing objects of value and wrecking a van. Most seriously, they kidnapped Abib Dodo, general secretary of the Communist Youth of the Ivory Coast (JCOCI), savagely beating him and taking him away. The police did not come to report the damages until about 5:00 PM!
The PCRCI informed us about what took place, accusing elements of the Fesci and the ‘Young Patriots’ linked to the regime of L. Gbagbo [president of the Ivory Coast – translator’s note].
We were more worried because several terrorist acts of this type have been aimed at other members of the opposition in the Ivory Coast, to say nothing of the ‘disappearances’ of journalists. Each time, elements of these paramilitary groups were implicated, without ever being investigated.
This morning, our comrades in the Ivory Coast told us the terrible new one:
Abib Dodo had been murdered. Another member, Kouame Kouakou Richard, in charge of the Workers and Peasants Committee, was seriously injured by elements of this same Fesci. Left for dead, his body was thrown into the underbrush near the Abidjan airport. ‘The political machine of L. Gbagbo is trying to crush all opposition to his regime. We are currently in shock. The members of the party are today dead men walking. The safety of the family of the general secretary is in danger because she identified the murderers of the Fesci and many of the names of the criminal elements are known in university circles.’ These are the words of our comrades in the Ivory Coast.
We share these fears. Every day, these ‘pseudo-patriots’ act with impunity. The press in the Ivory Coast that is not tied to the FPI [the ruling party in the Ivory Coast – translator’s note] authorities has not stopped denouncing the mafia methods of the leaders of Fesci that are conducting a reign the terror on campus.
The regime of the FPI and particularly of President Gbagbo is involved, in spite of his denials.
We hold him responsible for these assassinations, which are added to a long list of assassinations of political opponents.
The French authorities, strongly present in the field, with the blessings of the UN, through a very important military contingent (there is even talk of sending Leclerc tanks) cannot be unaware of these facts.
We are alerting national and international public opinion to use all possible pressure to immediately stop this policy of terror carried out by a regime that has become more and more isolated.
We assure our comrades of the PCRCI and its youth organization of our militant solidarity in these particularly serious moments.
Paris, June 25, 2004
Communist Party of the Workers of France
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