Ivory Coast authorities have detained 41 opposition supporters following protests last week against President Alassane Ouattara’s bid to run for re-election, political opponents said on Tuesday.
Nine other people who were arrested have been released, Cesar Etou, a spokesman for a faction of the former ruling party, the Ivorian Popular Front, said by phone from Abidjan, the commercial capital.
Government spokesman Bruno Kone said by phone that people had been arrested during the protests for legitimate reasons, without identifying how many.
Last week, violent demonstrations broke out in the west of the country and to a lesser degree in Abidjan after the constitutional court published a list of 10 candidates approved to stand in presidential elections on Oct. 25. Protesters dispute the eligibility of Ouattara’s candidacy because of questions about his nationality.
Starting next month, Ivory Coast will deploy about 34,000 security forces to ensure the elections are conducted peacefully, state-owned newspaper Fraternite Matin reported on Tuesday.
Former President Laurent Gbagbo’s refusal to concede defeat to Ouattara after the last vote in 2010 plunged the West African cocoa-producing nation into a five-month conflict that left at least 3,000 people dead.