Friday, April 24, 2015

Guinea Police Kill Opposition Protester in Labe
Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:53AM

One opposition protester has been killed in clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators in Guinea.

On Thursday, hundreds of anti-government demonstrators poured into the streets of several towns and cities across the restive West African country.

In the second-largest city of Labe, also considered a stronghold of the opposition, witnesses said riot police killed one person. More than a dozen people were also injured.

The victim was beaten with batons by security forces, medical sources said.

The government later confirmed the death of Ousmane Bah, 28, in a statement and said 14 people were injured, including 11 police officers.

Guinean law enforcement agencies say they also arrested at least 93 protesters for involvement in violent incidents.

Major protests were also held in the capital, Conakry, as well as the cities of Kindia and Dabola.

The government and the opposition blame each other for the violence.

“The opposition has once again defied the law and endangered the lives of our people,” the government said in a statement.

Over the past two weeks, several people have died in clashes between opposition activists and police in Conakry.

On April 13 and 14, hundreds of protesters hurled stones at police forces who responded with tear gas and warning shots. The opposition said three people were killed and 50 wounded in the clashes.

President Alpha Conde has been blamed by opposition leaders for insecurity in the country.

The opposition supporters have protested over the electoral timetable, which they claim gives the ruling party an unfair advantage. The opposition has accused President Conde of using the Ebola epidemic as an excuse to postpone voting.

The opposition supporters are demanding that local elections due in March next year be brought forward.

Guinea’s parliament was boycotted in March by the opposition, which withdrew its lawmakers from parliament in protest at the timetable for presidential election.

The last parliamentary elections, initially scheduled for 2013, were postponed by almost three years on account of violent ethnic tensions, which have been unprecedented since Guinea’s independence.

Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the region. It gained independence from France in 1958, but ever since has been run by a series of civilian and military rulers.

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