As an official stepped outside, prepared to announce some initial results, which he claimed were approved by the electoral commission, representatives of the ruling FPI who identified themselves as members of the electoral commission ripped up the paper with the initial results.
The official and the journalists went back inside, only to have soldiers show up a little later and politely ask the journalists to leave.
Things went downhill from there.
We now consider Death squads reemerge in Ivory Coast as president contests election results by Marco Chown Oved, December 20, 2010 (reproduced with links found in the original):
When the truckloads of heavily armed and masked men arrive, the women in this Abidjan neighborhood descend into the streets banging pots and pans.
It's a community organized alarm system – often accompanied by barriers at either end of the block manned by local teenagers – that is part of a desperate attempt to protect residents against the reemergence of death squads since the Ivory Coast's disputed Nov. 28 election.
People are terrified in neighborhoods that voted for Alassane Ouattara, the man the international community is recognizing as the legitimate president of Ivory Coast. No one knows exactly how many people have disappeared in the nighttime raids, but local United Nations chief Choi Young-jin estimated at least 50 since Dec. 16, when police opened fire on pro-Ouattara demonstrators, killing between 10 and 30 people.
The government is still controlled by incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, who has also claimed victory in the election. He denies any knowledge of the nighttime attacks, but security forces loyal to the man who refuses to relinquish power have been preventing UN investigation teams from getting to crime scenes and talking to witnesses.
The article then discusses the "hyenas", armed men who target the supporters of (former) President Gbagbo, and how the UN refuses to leave, despite Gbagbo's calls that foreign military personnel must leave the country.
Internationally, Alassane Ouattara has been recognized as the winner of last month's election.
From Ivory Coast opposition wants President Gbagbo ousted by force, by Marco Chown Oved, December 22, 2010:
A top opposition figure called Wednesday for the international community to use force to oust Laurent Gbagbo from the presidency after the disputed election, as France urged its citizens to get out amid growing fears of civil war.
The United Nations and other world leaders recognize Alassane Ouattara as the winner of the Nov. 28 runoff vote. His prime minister, Guillaume Soro, urged the UN, European Union, African Union and others to consider intervening to push Gbagbo out.
"It is obvious that there is one solution left — that of force," Guillaume Soro told France's i-tele television channel. He added that "200 people have been killed by the bullets of Liberian and Angolan mercenaries" in Ivory Coast but he did not elaborate and the numbers could not immediately be confirmed.
The UN said Sunday that at least 50 people have been killed in Ivory Coast in recent days, and the UN chief also has expressed concern about the recruitment of fighters from neighboring Liberia.
We now pick up with an article from Al Jazeera entitled Gbagbo 'ready' for talks with rival, dated December 22, 2010:
The disputed president of Cote d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo, has said that he is ready to talk to rival Alassane Ouattara, who was recognised by the UN and other international observers as the winner of Nov 28 presidential runoff poll.
The incumbent president has also invited a panel from the African Union and other countries, including China, Russia and the European Union, to re-examine the results of the polls, though he has vowed to stay on as president.
Gbagbo's demand that the UN and French peacekeeping forces leave the country remains in place, and on Tuesday he said that "the international community has declared war on Ivory Coast".
However, the UN Security Council has defied this and on Monday extended the mandate for the force - known as UNOCI - for six more months.
[Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general] said UN role "is now even more critical'" for the stability of the West African country and the region.
He added that the UN force "has also confirmed that mercenaries, including freelance former combatants from Liberia, have been recruited to target certain groups in the population".
Alain Le Roy, the UN peacekeeping chief, also said that he was concerned that groups linked to Gbagbo might be preparing strikes against the UN peacekeepers.
He added that mercenaries may have been recruited from Angola. UNOCI was attacked on Saturday and returned fire.
Open-and-shut case, right? Gbagbo is a thug, he refuses to give up power, and when the election goes against him, he brings in hired guns to help him stay in power.
The situation is summarized at the end of an article entitled An If Too Far, December 19, 2010:
It's all about money. For decades, migrants from neighboring countries were allowed in to help with the booming cocoa market. But when growth in the cocoa market stalled (and competition from Ghana and Indonesia increased), the Christian southerners sought to expel many of the Moslem migrants in the north. Fighting broke out in 2002, but neither side was strong enough to prevail. That is still the situation. There is a peace agreement, but no real progress towards achieving peace. After three years of delays, with Gbagbo hoping the nations supplying the peacekeepers would get tired of it all and just go, elections were finally held. Gbagbo lost, declared himself the newly elected president anyway, and ordered all foreign troops out. Northern forces are spoiling for a fight, to finish off Gbagbo and his nationalists once and for all.
The UN and U.S. have offered Gbagbo an exile free of war-crimes prosecutions, but so far, the offer has not been accepted. Gbagbo has another opportunity to survive all this. Russia has backed Gbagbo, and may be able to cancel the UN peacekeeping mandate, which expires at the end of the year. If the UN troops were withdrawn, Gbagbo believes he could force the French out, and defeat the northern warlords as well. That's a lot of "If's" and may be an If too far.