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Anti-Conde movement plans protests ahead of Guinea's October vote

President Alpha Conde is seeking a third term in office.   -  
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Guinea's opposition movement announced a new round of protests from late September, just weeks ahead of a presidential election.

The movement is opposing President Alpha Conde's controversial bid to run for a third term in the October 18 vote.

Clashes erupted last October, claiming several dozen lives, after the 82-year-old leader pushed through constitutional reforms so he could run for a third term.

It fuelled accusations he sidestepped limits on presidential terms.

"Our citizens' movement calls on the population of Conakry and the surrounding area to join a series of peaceful marches, starting on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, to demand Mr. Alpha Conde's departure," said one of its leaders, Abdourahmane Sanoh.

"The people of Guinea are urged to mobilise massively, in the greatest civic responsibility... to block" Conde, he said.

He described Conde as a "dictator... whose sole ambition today is to stay in power for the rest of his life."

Conde became the country's first democratically elected president in 2010 and was re-elected for a second time in 2015.

He is a former opposition figure who was jailed under previous regimes.

Critics say he has become increasingly authoritarian and resorts to crackdowns to quell dissent.

Will COVID stop the protests?

The opposition's announcement came hours after Conde declared coronavirus restrictions would be extended for another month.

The measures include bans of gatherings of more than 100 people, meaning the protests could be declared illegal.

Human rights defenders and the opposition accuse the authorities of using the coronavirus pandemic to repress protests and political rallies ahead of the vote.

But rallies held by government supporters in recent days have been allowed.

Guinea has officially declared 10,111 coronavirus cases and 63 deaths.

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