Ivorian security forces have arrested members of a civil society organisation who were protesting against parliament’s approval of certain constitutional amendments.
The group, Tournons la Page, was marching and distributing pamphlets protesting against the amendments in the streets of the Abidjan district of Yopougon, on March 11, 20120 when the Police pounced on them. Several marchers were arrested, forced into waiting police trucks and taken away. They were detained at the police station for hours before being released.
The action of police has been criticised as being discriminatory because two days earlier, a pro-government group had freely embarked on a march to oppose President Allassane Ouattara’s announcement that he would be stepping down when he completes his second term at the end of the year, as stipulated in the constitution.
On March 9, 2020, the Ivorian Parliament, approved some revisions in the country’s constitution. One of them, considered to be the most important one, stipulates the Vice President, who is supposed to be nominated as a running mate to the Presidential candidate, is now appointed by the President, according to the new constitution.
For the civil society group, the changes were made without adequate consultation at grassroots level.
The MFWA welcomes the release of the peaceful demonstrators. However, we believe the arrest should not have taken place in the first place, because it is a violation of the victims’ right to peaceful assembly.