|Mondomix reports that musicians, singers and actors in the Ivory Coast gathered together on the 31 May 2007, to demonstrate against the widespread piracy of their work. During the demonstration the reggae artist Fadal Dey and the pop musician Gbazza Figaro were knocked unconscious by stones thrown by the bootleggers.
By Kristina Funkeson, Freemuse
The demonstration took place in the business area of the former capital Abidjan – in the quarter called La Sorbone which is the center of the black-market in the city. According to Mondomix the artists wanted to show their discontent with the government’s inability to cope with contraband pirates. Today the pirates are selling their goods openly and without worrying about the police or juridical consequences. At the same time the artists lose a great deal of their income and thus they are living under poor circumstances.
Serious head injuries
When arriving in La Sorbone the artists were insulted by the bootleggers who claimed to have the full support of the president of the state. Mondomix reports how the pirates started throwing bricks and stones at the demonstrators. This is how the artists Fadal Dey and Gbazza Figaro were knocked unconscious and got serious head injuries.
The police arrived at the spot, but did nothing to interfere or to protect the artists. “The situation got out of hands and the police arrived”, Dey tells Freemuse. “They broke up the crowd with tear gas. Then the artists headed towards the national television to continue the demonstration but they were violently disunited by the police and even more people were injured.”
The struggle continues
There has been a lot of press in the Ivory Coast after the incident. Dey says: “A lot of articles are condemning the situation and the radio has even arranged debate sessions where the listeners could telephone and give the artists their support.”
Dey is proud of having defended his rights by demonstrating. But the fight has merely started. “The struggle continues”, he says.