Soldiers besieged ex-President Lauren Gbagbo's residence as he refused demands from France and the UN to step down. Gbagbo was defeated in presidential elections by Alassane Ouattara 54 per cent to 46 per cent.
Fighting was so fierce that the Japanese ambassador (Gbagbo's unfortunate neighbour) had to be rescued by French special forces.
The conflict is the latest incident in the country's violent history, and French intervention has sparked off fierce debate over issues of national sovereignty and the international community's responsibility to protect (R2P) human rights abuses.
Both Gbagbo and Ouattara are currently being investigaged by the UN for war crimes.