Guinea: One killed in first major protest under junta

Shots rang out in Conakry at night as people barricaded the streets and set tires on fire to protest a 20 percent increase in gasoline prices, a Reuters reporter and witnesses said.

“Angry young people went out to protest and clashed with security forces,” said Suleiman Bah, a resident of the Kolomyia district. “We heard several shots. There was also tear gas.”

One 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 opposed to former President Alpha Condé’s attempts to hold on to power.

A family member of the deceased, who asked not to be named, confirmed that he was killed during the protest.

Security Minister Bashir Diallo promised an investigation. “I strongly condemn the actions that led to the loss of life,” he told reporters.

Wednesday’s protests were the largest since Colonel Mamady Dumbuya. led a coup against Conde last September. Condé changed the constitution to allow himself to run for a third term in 2020, drawing widespread outrage.

Many of Condé’s opponents, including FNDC leaders, cautiously welcomed the coup, but relations with the Dumbui junta have soured since.

Last month, the main opposition parties rejected a 36-month transition to democratic elections approved by the interim parliament. Wednesday’s protests took place in areas known to be strongholds of opposition support.

In a statement, the FNDC said the security forces’ response “contrasts with Colonel Dumbui’s rhetoric when he took office, which condemned killings during protests.”

After criticizing the 36-month timetable, the junta banned all public demonstrations last month, drawing a rebuke from the United Nations.

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