Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo saw off another challenge to his rule on Monday as a call for a general strike fell flat and he prepared to face-down an ultimatum from West African leaders. Mr. Gbagbo's rival Alassane Ouattara, who has been recognised as President by the international community but is trapped in his besieged headquarters hotel protected by U.N. peacekeepers, had called for a national shut-down. But the capital Abidjan, one of West Africa's biggest ports and the key to controlling the country, was as busy as ever, its streets snarled with traffic jams and its street markets packed with shoppers.

Ouattara's party had called on all citizens to stop work and to stay off until Mr. Gbagbo stepped down. — AFP