Ivory Coast protesters erect roadblocks in main city

U.N. peacekeepers fired tear gas Tuesday at protesters trying to breach the security walls of the world body's headquarters in Ivory Coast as a second day of demonstrations raged in the government-held south. Up to 2,000 protesters rallied in front of the United Nations' compound in the main city of Abidjan, with several men tearing a small hole in the outer wall with iron bars before peacekeepers inside fired tear gas grenades to drive the crowd back.

Businesses shut in many parts of Abidjan on Tuesday, and young protesters gathered in city streets, throwing up roadblocks on the road to the main international airport.

Widespread protests sparked Monday after U.N.-backed mediators said over the weekend that the west African nation's parliament should be dissolved since its mandate expired last month. A new vote is scheduled next year. On Monday, rioters destroyed five U.N. vehicles, burning one to cinders, the U.N. said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Many government supporters accuse the United Nations and other international mediators of favoring rebels who seized the north during a 2002-2003 civil war. Ten thousand U.N. and French peacekeepers are providing security and attempting to move Ivory Coast toward an elusive peace foreseen under several accords.

Despite the deals, the world's largest cocoa exporter and former French colony remains divided and tense with armed forces still bearing weapons on either side of front lines, reports the AP. N.U.