The Observers

The dirty business of street cleaning in Abidjan, pet cemetaries in Tokyo, and more

This show is made up entirely of amateur images. We've seen time and time again how images captured by ordinary citizens then uploaded onto the Web can change history, or at least shift the balance of power. This week, we take a look back at some of those moments.



We begin today in Ivory Coast, with an update on a story we first brought you earlier this year. It was at the height of the fighting between rival presidents Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara. The country was at a standstill, and residents of Abidjan, the commercial capital, were suffering. Not just from the violence, but from shortages of food and power - and rubbish that was building up uncontrollably.

Ouattara won. And one of the first things he did was order a big clean-up. Thousands of Ivorians pitched in to help. But the problem is, many of them still haven't been paid. They worked hard to make the city shine, and they feel cheated. We head to Abidjan, with one of our oldest and best contributors, Soulaimana Sanogaud.



Next up, a look at some of the images sent in this week by our Observers.

Our first stop is Tripoli, Libya, with Omar Regi. It's been a month now since the fall of the Gaddafi regime, and Omar has launched a campaign to disarm the residents of the city. It's not fighting he's afraid of, but celebrations. To express their joy, Libyans have been firing their rifles in the air, even in densely populated areas. It can be dangerous: several injuries have been reported, and even one death.

So Omar made a video warning his fellow Libyans of the dangers of shooting in the air. We hope his message gets through.

Our next stop is Chelyabinsk, in southwestern Russia, with environmentalist Maxim Yahuchev. He tells us that last month his city was covered in a strange orange smoke. It came from a leak on board a freight train. Bottles containing bromine, a highly toxic substance, somehow came open. The authorities first said only a dozen or so bottles had been damaged. But Maxim says it later turned out nearly 6000 bottles came open. According to official figures, around 50 people were hospitalised in the incident.

Next, to neighboring Ukraine, and a group of teenagers, who apparently have no fear. They decided to climb the Moscow Bridge in the capital, Kiev. It's 119 metres tall - the height of a 35-story building. It took them just 12 minutes to make the ascent, without any equipment. One of them was wearing just sandals.

Our last stop is in Tokyo, with our Observer Lee Chapman, who took photographs that show a space that's bright and cheery, but is actually a cemetery - for pets. In Japan, when your cat or dog passes on, you can choose to have them cremated, then visit their ashes in a special shrine. Lee tells us that strolling around the cemetery is very relaxing.

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