Guinea: Six protesters killed in clashes with police

Police say clashes erupted due to measures adopted to curb COVID-19; protesters point to mistreatment and corruption.

Protesters confornt the army in the streets in Conakry on March 22, 2020, during a constitutional referendum in the country. Guinean President Alpha Condé assured on March 21, 202
Six people were killed in Guinea, police say they were protesting against road barriers set up to control traffic, but witnesses say that the protest broke out due to harassment and corruption by police officers [File: Cellou Binani/AFP]

Six protesters have died in Guinea during clashes with security forces over roadblocks erected to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“There were five deaths in Coyah and one in Dubreka,” police spokesman Mory Kaba told AFP news agency on Tuesday.

According to the police, crowds were protesting against road barriers set up to control traffic between the capital and the rest of the country.

Protesters said they were tired of being mistreated and extorted by police at entry and exit points to the capital, AFP said, citing witness accounts.

With 2,998 infections and 11 deaths, the country is among the West African countries worst-hit by the coronavirus.

The former French colony has a deficient health system. Its main hospital, under renovation for the past four years, had to reopen suddenly at the onset of the pandemic.

The country has first-hand experience with infectious diseases, having been ravaged by Ebola between late 2013 and 2016. More than 2,500 people died of the hemorrhagic fever.

Grinding poverty and the need to go outdoors to make a living add to the defiance.

The government has imposed a nighttime curfew, closed Guinea’s borders, banned gatherings and made mask-wearing compulsory. 

Protests took place after a wave of unrest that gripped the country in March as violence erupted after President Alpha Conde went ahead with a bitterly contested referendum to revise the constitution which spurred mass demonstrations and left dozens of people dead.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies