Opposition groups insist the president must stand down after serving two terms, in accordance with the law.

Ivorian anti-riot Police arrive to disperse young demonstrators that burnt barricades in the road during a protest against third term of president Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara in the Riviera Anono district of Abidjan on August 13, 2020, ahead of country's presidential election in October 2020.
Ivorian anti-riot Police arrive to disperse young demonstrators that burnt barricades in the road during a protest against third term of president Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara in the Riviera Anono district of Abidjan on August 13, 2020, ahead of country's presidential election in October 2020. (AFP)

At least five people are dead and over 100 injured in three days of street clashes following President Alassane Ouattara's decision to seek a third term.

Outtara's election announcement sparked fury among his critics, as he can only run a third time by arguing that a constitutional change entitles him to reset the clock.

On Friday, security sources said six were killed in the violence, but Security Minister Vagondo Diomande later said the protests have caused "five deaths with 104 injured".

Ten police officers and two gendarmes were among the injured, he added, calling for "return to calm throughout the national territory".

Protests set to continue

Opponents say the move violates a constitutional two-term limit and jeopardises the tenuous stability achieved since Ouattara's first election win in 2010 sparked a brief civil war.

On Friday, the remnants of tyre barricades smouldered in the opposition stronghold of Bonoua, as residents gathered in the rubble of the town's police station that was torched by protesters the previous day after one of them was shot dead.

A column of police reinforcements arrived in Bonoua on Thursday night after the crowd clashed with police who used tear gas and live bullets, witnesses said.

"We're going to march until October. Tomorrow we will keep on marching," said local youth leader Frederik N’Ta N'Chou, to cheers from the crowd. "We don't have weapons but we have stones."

Diomande said order had been restored across Ivory Coast.

"The government calls on everyone to exercise restraint," he said in a statement late on Friday.

Must stand down

Opposition groups insist the president must stand down after serving two terms, in accordance with the law, but Ouattara says the new constitution, adopted in 2016, acted as a reset button, allowing him to run again.

While there was far less public unrest on Friday than previous days, a small protest in Yopougon, a district of the commercial capital Abidjan, saw a passenger bus set on fire in the early hours. 

By midday, traffic was flowing normally under the supervision of a police patrol.

October's presidential vote will take place in a country still scarred by a low-level civil war that erupted in 2011 when former strongman Laurent Gbagbo refused to cede power to Ouattara after losing elections.

The ensuing unrest claimed some 3,000 lives and split the country along north-south lines.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies