Opposition protesters clashed with government supporters and security forces in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, in a second day of violence this week that has left at least two people killed.
“There are clashes between opposition and government supporters,” Raphael Traore, a resident in the Conakry neighborhood of Taouyah said by phone today. “Security forces are firing tear gas to disperse the rival groups.”
Three opposition groups pledged earlier this week to hold the demonstrations after they announced a plan to pull out of preparations toward a legislative election set for May 12, even as they said they wouldn’t boycott the vote. President Alpha Conde has called a meeting of “all political organizations” on March 4.
At least 130 people, including 68 troops, were injured on Feb. 27, the first day of protests. One demonstrator died of his wounds yesterday, Mamadou Mouctar Diallo, head of Nouvelles Forces Democratiques, one of the opposition groups, said by phone today. State-owned Radio Guinee reported that a soldier was also killed. The government said in a statement that a further 65 people were injured today.
The U.S. “continues to exhort Guinea to work with all parties to assure that peaceful and transparent legislative election take place,” Patrick Ventrell, State Department acting deputy spokesman, said in a statement e-mailed by the U.S. embassy in Conakry.
Conde was elected in November 2010 to return the world’s biggest bauxite exporter to civilian-led administration. Legislative elections have been delayed at least twice and opposition groups have held sporadic protests since 2011, saying they have not been included in talks about the organization of the polls.
Conde today “deplored” the violence and called for calm, pledging to protect the property of all Guineans. Conde commented in a statement e-mailed by his office.
Guinea is the world’s biggest exporter of aluminum raw material bauxite, and also has a gold mine owned by AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. Vale SA has an iron ore project in the country.
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