Ivory Coast stampede survivors blame makeshift barriers across boulevard
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Survivors of a stampede in Ivory Coast that killed 61 people, most of them children and teenagers, after a New Year's Eve fireworks display said on Wednesday that makeshift barricades stopped them from moving along a main boulevard, causing the crush of people.
Ivory Coast police said unknown people put tree trunks across the Boulevard de la Republique where the trampling took place.
“For security, because there were so many important people at the event, we closed certain main streets,” said a police officer who was overheard briefing Ivory Coast President Alassane Outtara on the stampede.
The officer said the tree trunks were placed unofficially by unidentified people.
“After the fireworks we reopened the other streets, but we had not yet removed the tree trunks from the Boulevard de la Republique, in front of the Hotel Tiana near the National Assembly (parliament) building,” she said. “That is where the stampede happened when people flooded in from the other streets.”
Ouattara ordered three days of national mourning and started an investigation into the causes of the tragedy.
Two survivors indicated why so many died in what would normally be an open area, the Boulevard de la Republique.
An estimated 50,000 people had gathered near Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium and elsewhere in Abidjan's Plateau district to watch the fireworks. As they streamed away from the show, some encountered the blockades.
“Near the Justice Palace we were stopped by some people who put blockades of wood in the street,” Zoure Sanate, 33, said from her bed in Cocody Hospital. “They told us we must stay in the Plateau area until morning.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Nuclear talks bog down as Iran team balks at key decisions, envoys say
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Dozens dead in gunfight on Mexico ranch
- Women’s walk across Koreas’ DMZ denied; they cross by bus
- Saudi King Salman vows retribution for suicide attack on mosque
- Conservative populist Duda becomes Poland’s president
- Relentless heat wave kills more than 1,000 in India
- Blair to quit post as U.N. special Middle East envoy