Ivorian troops kill protesters, AU team arrives
By Tim Cocks and Ange Aboa
ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivorian troops killed at least six protesters calling on Laurent Gbagbo to step down as leader on Monday, witnesses said, as African presidents charged with resolving Ivory Coast's crisis arrived in Abidjan.
A dispute over the presidential election in November has paralysed the country and led to the deaths of about 300 people.
The election, meant to bring stability after a decade of economic and political stagnation in the world's biggest cocoa-producing country, has instead left it as divided as ever and its economy in disarray.
Alassane Ouattara is widely recognised internationally as the victor but Gbagbo has refused to cede power.
Cocoa exports have dried up, driving futures prices to new highs. International banks have shut down operations.
A source who had access to preparatory talks on Sunday said the African panel would insist that Gbagbo stand down, in return for guarantees, to allow Ouattara to take charge of the west African country in accordance with to U.N.-certified results.
There was no statement from the leaders. Gbagbo has previously rejected similar proposals.
The two rivals have formed opposing, parallel governments, although Ouattara remains restricted to a lagoon-side hotel protected by a ring of U.N. peacekeepers. Continued...