Clashes In Guinea As Protests Resume After COVID-19 Hiatus

Security forces clashed with demonstrators in Guinea’s capital Conakry on Monday as protests resumed after a three-month coronavirus hiatus against the president’s suspected intention of extending his grip on power, sources said.

AFP news agency reported that a bullet struck 22-year-old protester Amadou Barry in the face as he headed to a demonstration in the Hamdallaye suburb, an opposition stronghold, according to a friend and a medical source.

In another opposition stronghold, the Wanidara suburb, demonstrators set up barricades and burned tyres while security forces tried to disperse them with tear gas.

HumAngle gathered that the security forces cordoned off the homes of opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo and
Abdourahmane Sano, the National Coordinator of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution, an umbrella organisation of political parties, unions and civil society groups.

When the government imposed measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic the opposition group suspended protests that had raged since October, 2019 over a potential re-election bid by President Alpha Conde, 82.

the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution ended the truce with a call for protests on Monday despite a continued ban on gatherings as Territorial Administration Minister Bourema Conde reminded television viewers late Sunday.

Conde’s second five-year term ends this year, with an election set for October in the poor West African country of some 13 million people, which has recorded around 6,500 coronavirus infections and 39 deaths.

According to the security ministry, few people turned out for the protests.

It said “uncivic acts” included “attempts to set up barricades, spilling automotive oil on roads (and) throwing stones” in Conakry and elsewhere in the country.

Conde enacted a new constitution in April following a referendum in March which credibility was questioned by France, the European Union and the United States.

The motive behind changing the constitution is to allow him to reset presidential term limits so that he can run again in October, critics say.

Conde is a former opposition figure himself who was jailed under Guinea’s previous authoritarian regimes.

Despite initial hopes of a new political dawn when Conde became the former French colony’s first democratically elected president in 2010, critics say his rule has become increasingly authoritarian.

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