Aya Virginie Touré

Activist Type

Aya Virginie Touré is a peace activist and politician in Côte D’Ivoire. Touré was the organizer of many political demonstrations and peaceful protests, specifically during the Second Ivorian Civil War in opposition to former President Laurent Gbagbo’s reign. Gbagbo lost the December 2010 presidential election to Alasanne Outtarra, but weaponized violent tactics to stay in power. 

Touré was the president of a women’s group in support of Alassane Ouattara, and in March 2011, a women’s march was organized in part by Aya to advocate for the removal of Gbagbo. There were thousands of women gathered in the streets, dressed in natural materials like clay and sticks with black clothing, peacefully protesting. Upon the arrival of military troops, they opened fire on the crowd and killed seven women, with many more injured. In a show of resilience, many women turned out a week later for a march on International Women’s Day to protest the violence.

Historically, the women of Côte D’Ivoire have had crucial roles in protests and advocacy for political causes. The women are highly involved in pro-democracy activism and calling for justice. Despite these facts, there is little information regarding female activists in Ivory Coast, and just as little information covering the injustices they protest. Aya told BBC, “The international community has forgotten about us… I have actually been thinking about organizing another women’s march to call for international community involvement.” Toure has continued to speak out against government corruption, greed, and dismissal by the outside world.

Artwork by
Grace Song

Aya’s portrait references her resourcefulness and urgency to create peace. During the protest that she organized, they banged pots to warn about the arrival of the militias. The colors are inspired by the African wax printed fabrics and traditional designs.

Côte D'Ivoire

Côte D’ivoire Flag
August 7, 1960
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