Ivory Coast general strike largely a bust

Dec. 27, 2010 at 6:51 PM
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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A general strike called by supporters of presidential aspirant Alassane Ouattara Monday failed to gain much traction and life went on mostly uninterrupted.

The BBC reported people in Abidjan, the western African nation's largest city, largely ignored the call to disrupt the economy by not showing up for work. The strike gained some momentum in the north, the British network said.

Radio France Internationale reported commercial and retail activity appeared normal in downtown Abidjan. However, Bouake, in the north, was unusually quiet, the French network said.

The predominantly Muslim north backs Ouattara, while the primarily Christian south supports Gbagbo.

RFI reported Ouattara supporters rallied peacefully at their country's embassy in Paris.

Ouattara has won international recognition as the winner of last month's presidential election over incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused to step down. Neighboring countries, members of the Economic Community of West African States, have warned Gbagbo of possible military intervention if he does not relinquish control.

Leaders from Benin, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone are expected to meet with Gbagbo Tuesday to urge him to vacate the presidency.

Ivory Coast, the biggest producer of cocoa in the world, endured a civil war in 2002.

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