Clashes in Guinea after peaceful protest

Thousands of people take part in a demonstration called by Guinea's opposition groups, on February 18, 2013, in Conakry
Thousands of people take part in a demonstration called by Guinea's opposition groups, on February 18, 2013, in Conakry

CONAKRY — Youths clashed with security forces in Guinea on Tuesday, a day after authorities in the west African nation praised a rare peaceful pro-democracy demonstration in the country.

 

Youths in the suburbs of the capital Conakry erected barricades and burned car tyres while chanting slogans against President Alpha Conde. They threw stones at police who arrived to dismantle barriers, who responded by firing tear gas.

 

Dozens were arrested and a number of people lightly injured in the clashes, witnesses said.

Police and witnesses also said that the headquarters of an

opposition party had been ransacked.

 

One police officer told AFP: "All we can tell you is that we have picked up youths everywhere. They will all go to prison."

 

On Monday an unauthorised protest called by the opposition to protest in favour of free and fair elections in May went ahead without incident, prompting government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara to say that "Guinea has just shown that it is possible to protest peacefully".

 

Guinea has a history of rallies turning violent as government forces crack down on protesters.

 

A protest in April last year left 20 people injured after police fired tear gas on women, while one person died and a number were injured in another opposition rally in December 2011.

 

In violence that drew international condemnation, at least 150 protesters were killed by the army in 2009 as they gathered to urge junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara not to run for election the following year.

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