ABIDJAN, Jan 19 (AFP): Supporters of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo Thursday ignored his call for an end to violent protests, manning roadblocks, throwing rocks at the UN headquarters and paralysing Abidjan for the fourth day.
Militant backers of the president have protested in the economic capital Abidjan since Monday against a recommendation from a UN-mandated working group that the parliament stand down as its term had ended.
Several hundred demonstrators were throwing rocks and protesting outside the United Nations headquarters in Abidjan.
"Between 200 and 300 of them are continuing to hassle us, throwing rocks. We have been replying with tear gas," a UN military source told the news agency.
Up to 300 demonstrators also maintained a sit-in in front of the embassy of France, Ivory Coast's former colonial ruler which along with the United Nations has thousands of peacekeeping troops in the divided country.
Public transport was at a standstill in the city.
Abidjan's streets were empty of pedestrians and security forces Thursday morning and shops remained shuttered.
The few motorists who ventured out were being checked at roadblocks around the city manned by the protestors. Some drivers could be seen being turned back at the roadblocks.
On Wednesday evening, the president had urged the so-called Young Patriots to end the street violence and return to work.
The call, made jointly with Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny, was issued after crisis talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, the current head of the African Union.