By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY – At least six people were shot and wounded in Guinea’s capital on Monday, the government said, during protests against the timing of elections and what opposition figures say is targeted violence against them.
Protesters barricaded streets and burned tyres overnight in neighbourhoods of the capital, Conakry, that are considered opposition strongholds. Security forces wearing shields and helmets moved in to clear the streets, firing teargas as protesters threw stones.
“We want (President) Alpha Conde to go,” shouted one of the protesters above the din of an angry crowd.
Several witnesses reported hearing gunfire. A government statement said that 10 injured people had been admitted to two Conakry hospitals, including six people with bullet wounds. Eight people were arrested during the protests, the statement said, and relative calm had returned by dusk.
“For the moment, we don’t know where the shots came from,” said government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara. Gendarmes had come under fire in the city’s Hamdallaye neighbourhood, he said, although none had been hit.
Guinea’s electoral commission announced last month that a presidential election would be held on Oct. 11, a decision the opposition said broke a July 2013 agreement to hold long-delayed local elections first.
“We won’t stop. We are calling for the demonstrations to continue tomorrow until our demands are totally satisfied,” opposition figure Cellou Dalein Diallo told journalists.