At least five people were killed and 38 wounded on Monday, October 14, 2019, in Guinea during demonstrations across the capital Conakry as protests turned violent. The demonstrations were in opposition to a possible change to the constitution that could allow President Alpha Conde to run for a third term.
Guinea was governed by President Lansana Conte for nearly a quarter of a century until his death in 2008. Then in 2010, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically-elected president, ending a brief two-year military rule and raising hopes for democratic progress in the West African nation.
The president’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020 but he has refused to rule out running again. Last month, he called on the public to prepare for a referendum and elections, stirring speculation that he is planning to overcome a constitutional bar on a third term.
Guinea now finds itself in political limbo as the country awaits an announcement from President Condé whether he will revise the constitution and run for a third term in the 2020 presidential elections.
Meanwhile, protests are expected to continue in the coming days as the coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups – the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) – has said it will use all legal means to oppose any constitutional change.
A small number of people took part in scattered demonstrations yesterday but security was out in force, opening fire on demonstrators, breaking up makeshift barricades and making some arrests as protesters burned tyres and threw stones.
Amnesty International condemned the deaths in the capital and urged security forces to “refrain from using excessive and deadly force” and urged authorities to release “people arbitrarily arrested for organizing the protests.”
Moreover, six opposition figures were arrested ahead of the protest on Monday, which was the first in a series of planned demonstrations, with FNDC calling for a significant turnout.
The government has also banned street protests for more than a year, citing threats to public security. Meanwhile, security forces have tear-gassed those who defied the ban and arrested dozens of demonstrators.
Written by Faith Ikade