Ivory Coast's Ouattara wins 3rd term, amid rising tensions

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Policemen walk past a burning barricade during a protest after the security forces blocked the access to the house of the former president Henri Konan Bedie, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Ivory Coast's electoral commission said Tuesday that President Alassane Ouattara had overwhelmingly won a third term in office after his two main opponents boycotted the election and called his candidacy illegal. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

ABIDJAN – Security forces in Ivory Coast dispersed opposition supporters with tear gas while protesters erected barricades in the streets Tuesday after President Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of a controversial third term.

The mounting unrest came as authorities loyal to Ouattara's government appeared to be stepping up their surveillance of top opposition leaders Pascal Affi N’Guessan and Henri Konan Bedie, who vowed to set up their own transitional government after denouncing Saturday's vote.

Police showed up Tuesday afternoon as international journalists gathered for a press conference with members of the opposition. After ordering people to leave the scene, forces fired tear gas in the surrounding streets.

The two opposition leaders had boycotted Saturday's presidential election in a bid to discredit the vote. On Monday, they discounted Ouattara's victory, saying his mandate to lead Ivory Coast had expired.

There have been widespread fears of post-election violence erupting in Ivory Coast, where more than 3,000 people were killed following a disputed vote a decade ago.

Opposition leaders said more than 30 people already have died in violence linked to Saturday's election. On Monday night, they continued a call for civil disobedience and told supporters “to remain mobilized until the final victory.”

The U.N. refugee agency reported that as of Tuesday, more than 3,200 Ivorians fearing post-electoral violence had fled to Liberia, Ghana and Togo.

“I fear for the future. What's the point of giving the results of this election when practically all observers question the credibility? Can the reelection of a contested candidate heal the wounds of 2010? ” Mikael Koffi, a resident of the city of Abidjan, said Tuesday.