Seriously under reported here has been outbreaks of rioting worldwide over the price of food and its scarcity. Two days of rioting in Egypt over the doubling of basic food prices has been echoed by rioting throughout west africa – Senegal,Cameroon,Ivory Coast,Mauretania – 40 people dead in Cameroon alone. Violent street confrontation in Haiti and unrest in Mozambique with protests in Uzbekistan,Yemen and Indonesia. The head of the UN Foood programme said yesterday ‘ WE ARE SEEING MORE URBAN HUNGER THAN EVER BEFORE. WE ARE SEEING FOOD ON THE SHELVES BUT PEOPLE BEING UNABLE TO AFFORD IT’
FOR TOO LONG THE GREAT MASS OF PEOPLES HUDDLED IN TOWNSHIPS AND SHANTY TOWNS HAVE ENDURED POVERTY WITH LITTLE CHANCE OF ENGAGING IN POLITICAL ACTION WHILE THEIR RULERS COMPILE CONSPICUOUS WEALTH WITH A BAND OF CRONIES……..MAYBE THE POOR ARE ABOUT TO STRIDE BACK ON TO THE STAGE OF HISTORY…………….IT IS WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN TAKING THE LEAD IN THESE STRUGGLES………..
Here’s an eyewitness report from ABIDJAN:
The statement ‘GBAGBO WE RE HUNGRY’ SHOULD ECHO ACROSSS AFRICA
IVORY COAST: GBAGBO DANCES WHILE THE PEOPLE IS STARVING
On Sunday, March 30 president Gbagbo of Ivory Coast received his friend the “socialist” and former French minister Jack Lang. After giving him a medal, he took him along to one of the smart night clubs on Princesse Street in the red light district of Abidjan (in the immediate vicinity of another district, Yopougon, Wassakara, where to eat three times a day is a luxury) under the eyes of the television cameras, with the aim of showing that peace has returned to the country.
Overheated by the ambience, Lang recalling when as an expatriate prof he had made merry in these very places, took the opportunity to praise the “popularity” of his host and his qualities as a great “humanist”.
But for the poor population of Abidjan who cannot make ends meet this broadcast caused an explosion. The following day, housewives started to demonstrate from 9 AM and, joined by the youth, to erect barricades in the district of Cocody: “Gbagbo, we are hungry and you dance on Princesse Street with a white to show him that all is well”; “We came out this morning because enough is enough. We’re sick and tired of it. It is another form of war with which we declare to Ivory Coast”. “Gbagbo, we are hungry!” etc. (Le Nouveau réveil, Abidjan, 1/4/2008)
In the aftermath spontaneous demonstrations have broken out in other municipalities in the metropolitan Abidjan area and certain cities in the interior: Yopougon, Port-Boué, Attécoubé, Grand Bassam; as of 4 AM Tuesday, the demonstrators blocked the strategic crossroads in Port Boué with blockades, burning tires, etc.
Prices have indeed soared—sometimes doubling: denikacha rice rose from 200F CFA to 400F CFA; a kilo of meat rose from 700 F CFA to 900 F CFA in three days while in the same period of time a litre of oil rose from 600 to 850 F; milk, soap and other necessities follow, but wages, they remain unchanged!
Faced with these demonstrations, the great humanist Gbagbo and his Prime Minister Soro released their dogs: cops from CRS detachments attacked the demonstrators, firing live ammunition without warning at women and young people. In Port-Boué, in the shantytown of Gonzague city, one young person, Séa Abel fell, killed by a bullet from police of CRS 1.
In his televised speech after 2 days of demonstrations, the so-popular Gbango has nothing to say to the dozens of wounded and the young demonstrator killed. He will announce the temporary freezing of the customs duties for a range of imported basic commodities and the strengthening of the fight against racketeering.
These are measures that will not significantly improve the situation of the population in a country where a bourgeois minority build fortunes in the exploitation of agricultural raw materials (fortunes placed under protection in French banks or other)…
REPRESSION IN SENEGAL
On Sunday, March 30 Senegal has also witnessed a demonstration of housewives in Dakar against the high cost of living: “Rice is really expensive, oil is expensive, the government does nothing. We are tired of it, we don’t have any work, our children do not have work, we try to manage to eat, we can find nothing to eat, we are hungry, thirsty, we are really tired of it,” said one demonstrator cited by Reuters.