Ivorian opposition has called for more protests on Saturday as a standoff with the government intensifies over a new draft constitution that is due to be voted on later this month.
President Alassane Ouattara says the new constitution will turn the page on a decade of political turmoil and civil war, but opposition leaders have called the document a step backward for democracy.
“We would like to inform our members and all our supporters, to be alert. To this effect, the opposition front calls for a mega rally on Saturday, October 22 from 9 AM in the morning,” said Danielle Boni Claverie, founding president of the opposition party Republican Union for Democracy.
The call comes just a day after violent protests rocked the capital, Abidjan on Thursday following a demonstration by the opposition against a referendum called on October 30 for a new draft constitution.
At the heart of the dispute is a clause in the draft that requires
presidential candidates to have parents who are both born in Ivory Coast.
The clause has been a sore point in a country that has long attracted immigrants from neighboring countries and was used by Ouattara’s opponents to bar him from elections, becoming a symbol of exclusion, particularly of northerners like him.
Nationality was at the heart of a crisis that began with a 1999 coup and included a 2002-2003 civil war that split Ivory Coast in two for eight years.