Supporters of Ivory Coast presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara occupied the Ivorian embassy in Paris for several hours on Monday, calling for the internationally isolated incumbent Laurent Gbagbo to step aside.
French television reported that some 20 people occupied the building peacefully for more than six hours, forcing the embassy staff to leave before themselves abandoning the building. A police spokesman had no immediate comment.
“President Ouattara called me to ask that the young people (occupying the embassy) go home,” Marcel Youpeh, a member of Ouattara’s RHDP party, told French television outside the building.
A cordon of around a dozen French police stood outside the closed iron gates of the embassy for several hours, blocking entry to another group of Ouattara supporters gathered outside.
Ambassador Pierre Kipre, a Gbagbo ally, was not in the embassy when it was occupied, local media said.
French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said earlier that France would accredit a new Ivorian ambassador at the request of Ouattara’s government, which it recognises as the winner of last month’s contested election.
French television said Ouattara named a successor to the post late on Monday.
The West African country has been plunged into a violent political impasse by the election, which was intended to heal the scars of a 2002-2003 civil war but has instead led to fresh bloodshed between the two camps.