As the fighting in Abidjan intensified, UN and French troops quickly moved to protect foreign nationals.
Some 500 foreigners, a third of whom are French, have been taken by soldiers to the safety of a military camp.
This after reports of looting and residents having to barricade themselves inside their buildings.
Also, a Swedish official from the UN peacekeeping mission has been killed by a stray bullet during a gun battle.
The UN says some one million people have fled Abidjan alone since the political standoff began, and thousands have crossed into Liberia.
UN troops are now said to be in control of Abidjan airport.
France and the African Union have renewed calls for Gbagbo to quit, while the UN human rights office called on Ouattara to rein in his forces.