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Guinean killed during clashes at funeral of anti-Conde protester

Guinean killed during clashes at funeral of anti-Conde protester

Guinea

A 17-year-old was shot dead on Monday during clashes between security forces and protesters at a funeral march in Guinea for victims of violence in recent demonstrations against President Alpha Conde, the opposition and his family said.

Violence erupted after hundreds marched in the capital Conakry to accompany coffins of people killed in more than a week of demonstrations over suspicions that President Alpha Conde is seeking to prolong his rule in the West African country.

Deaths were recorded in mid-October when similar clashes between security forces and citizens rocked Conakry.

In September, 81-year-old Conde called on the public to prepare for a referendum and elections, stirring speculation that he is planning to overcome a constitutional bar on serving a third term. The next presidential ballot is due to be held late next year.

An alliance of unions, opposition parties and civil society groups called the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) has called for massive protests aginst the project.

A number of protest leaders were arrested and jailed for offences the prosecutors likened to calling for insurrection. He cited their use of “insidious, serious and dangerous statements to disturb public order.”

The authorities claim these protests were illegal stressing police did not approve of them. From the beginning, he justified the repression of the protests on grounds of public safety. The prosecutor also noted that the FNDC had called for the paralysis of mines, banks and all economic activity.

The defendants’ lawyers contested that their clients had called for the demonstrations and requested for their release.

“In prison or in freedom, I will fight against Alpha Condé‘s policy for a third term, I will fight to prevent Alpha Condé from having a third term,” said one of the defendants, Ibrahima Diallo.

“The Guinean Constitution is not a rag,” said one of the lawyers, Halimatou Camara, calling supporters of a third term of office “arsonists”, in a warning against the risk of escalation if Alpha Condé confirmed his plans.