From firstname.lastname@example.org Sun Sep 10 06:13:02 1995
Date: Sat, 09 Sep 1995 17:08:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Le pouvoir de la femme ivoirienne.
Subj: Ivory Coast Women Stage Protest
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) -- Riot police firing tear gas grenades broke up an anti-government protest by about 200 women in the capital Thursday. At least 10 women were arrested and some were beaten with clubs.
Police assaulted an Associated Press photographer as he took pictures of the protest, and seized his equipment. Jean-Marc Bouju was grabbed and whipped by police as they wrestled his camera from around his neck, but was not seriously injured.
Police returned the equipment nearly five hours later and apologized.
Women from the Republican Front, a coalition of opposition groups, called the demonstration to protest the ruling party's control of television. It came two days after another protest called by the women was violently dispersed by police.
In that incident, 30 women were reported injured by witnesses and opposition newspapers, although police said the event had ended peacefully.
The protests are unusual for Ivory Coast, which has rarely experienced civil unrest since gaining independence from France in 1960. Presidential elections are scheduled for Oct. 22, however, and the ruling Democratic Party has become increasingly authoritarian under President Henri Bedie.
Thursday's protest took place across a busy, four-lane road from the state-run TV station. About 20 women were sitting on the sidewalk waving white cloths when about 25 riot police, wearing helmets and carrying shields and tear-gas grenade launchers, approached.
A Republican Front spokeswoman, Dieneba Ouattara, said police ordered them to hand over a letter the women planned to give to the television director. When they refused, the troops began firing tear gas without warning, she said.
Police beat some women with clubs, and grabbed others as they ran choking and screaming down the street. Ouattara said some women were taken to hospitals with injuries, but there was no word on their conditions.
Bedie took power in December 1993 after the death of Ivory Coast's longtime leader, Felix Houphouet-Boigny.