One dead in Guinea election protests

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One Dead in Protests

CONAKRY (Reuters) - One man has died from wounds suffered during clashes in the Guinean capital of Conakry between security forces and demonstrators protesting against preparations for a long-delayed parliamentary election, a government spokesman said on Friday.


Damantang Albert Camara said more than 15 others were wounded, including four from gunshots, during Thursday's protests sparked by President Alpha Conde's decision last week to fix June 30 as the date for the ballot.

He did so without agreeing to opposition demands that the government allow the mostly pro-opposition diaspora to vote and strip South Africa's Waymark of its contract to manage the voter list.


Opposition parties accuse Conde, who took office in 2010 following the first democratic transfer of power since independence in 1958, of planning to rig the vote.


"The person died as a result of beating," Camara said of the fatality, without providing further details.


Youths throwing rocks barricaded roads and burned tires in opposition strongholds in the seaside capital on Thursday and police fired tear gas to disperse them, residents said.

In February and March, nine people were killed and 300 wounded during days of similar clashes between opposition protesters, security forces and government supporters.


The election, originally scheduled for 2011, is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule following a military coup in 2008, and could unlock hundreds of millions of dollars in European aid.


Guinea is the world's top bauxite exporter, but long-term instability has helped to deter investment in its vast untapped reserves of gold, iron ore and diamonds.


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