Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Ivory Coast’s commercial capital on Saturday to protest against President Alassane Ouattara’s plan to seek a third term in the October 31 presidential election.
Ouattara announced in August that he will seek another term following the sudden death of his handpicked successor.
The constitutional council has cleared him and three other candidates to run, but the opposition says Ouattara is violating the constitution by seeking another term and has called for a civil disobedience campaign.
On Saturday, some 20,000 people packed into a 35,000 capacity stadium in capital, Abidjan, chanting and dancing. Some held banners saying “The people say no to an illegal third term.”
The 78-year old president, who has been in power for a decade, says a 2016 constitutional change means his two-term limit has been reset.
Over a dozen people have been killed in violent protests, sparking memories of a civil war in which 3,000 people died following a disputed election that Ouattara won in 2010.
The opposition has called for the election to be postponed, while the ruling party has said the election will take place regardless of whether they participate.
Campaigning is expected to start on October 15.