Guinea anti-government protest turns violent

Government says 14 wounded during clashes between demonstrators and security forces over delayed local polls.

    Protests in Guinea against delayed elections turned violent on Monday when protesters burned tyres and threw stones to keep security forces away.

    A government statement released on Tuesday said that at least 14 people, including 12 security officers, were wounded. But opposition leader Mouctar Diallo said 30 people were wounded, including seven shot, one of whom is in critical condition.

    Residents in the Koloma neighbourhood of the capital, Conakry, reported hearing gunfire in the early afternoon as police and gendarmes moved back into areas they had been forced out of.

    "Reinforcements apparently arrived. From my house I can see a big truck of security agents parked nearby. I heard several gunshots. I'm scared," Koloma resident Nenen Barry told Reuters.

    West African nation's presidential election slated to be held on October 11, announced by the electoral commission in March, broke a 2013 agreement to stage long-delayed local polls first, the opposition says.

    We have claims that have to be satisfied. Our claims are legitimate. Our aim is to make the authorities honour their commitments and respect the laws of the Republic.

    Opposition Leader Baidi Aribot 

    Analysts say holding local polls first would give President Alpha Conde's rivals more influence in organising the presidential election.

    Another opposition Leader Baidi Aribot spoke on the breaking of the agreement saying the opposition's claims are "legitimate" and must be "satisfied".

    "Our aim is to make the authorities honour their commitments and respect the laws of the Republic," he said.

    Escalating the disorder

    Government deputy spokesman Moustapha Naite said that he did not know who had fired the shots and raised the prospect that gunmen may have infiltrated the protests to escalate the disorder.

    "We regret to say that there are victims of targeted shooting among the population.

    But no-one, neither the opposition nor the authorities, can say with certainty that those bullets came from law enforcement forces," he said.

    Guinea's opposition boycotted parliament in March in protest over the timetable for the presidential ballot, accusing President Conde of using the Ebola epidemic as an excuse to postpone voting.

    This was followed by two weeks of clashes in April between anti-government activists and security forces that left several people dead and dozens wounded in the country's largest towns and cities.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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