Guinea: One killed in first major junta protest

Gunshots rang out overnight in Conakry as people barricaded streets and set fire to tires in protest at a 20% rise in gasoline prices, a Reuters reporter and witnesses said.

“Angry youths protested and clashed with security forces,” said Souleymane Bah, a resident of the city’s Koloma neighborhood. “We heard several shots. There was also tear gas.”

A protester was shot dead by security forces, according to the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of politicians and activists opposing former President Alpha Conde’s attempts to stay in power.

A relative of the victim, who declined to be named, confirmed that he had been killed during the protest.

Security Minister Bachir Diallo promised an investigation. “I strongly condemn the actions that have resulted in the loss of life,” he told reporters.

Guinea swears coup leader Mamady Doumbouya as interim president
Wednesday’s protests were by far the largest since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya led a coup against Conde last September. Conde had amended the constitution to run for a third term in 2020, sparking widespread anger.

Many of Conde’s opponents, including FNDC leaders, cautiously welcomed the coup, but relations with Doumbouya’s junta have deteriorated since then.

Last month, the main opposition parties rejected a 36-month transition to democratic elections that had been approved by the interim parliament. The protests on Wednesday took place in neighborhoods known as bastions of opposition support.

In its statement, the FNDC said the security forces’ response “contrasts with Colonel Doumbouya’s rhetoric when he came to power, who denounced killings during protests”.

After criticizing the 36-month timeline, the junta last month banned all public demonstrations, at the rebuke of the United Nations.

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