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U. S., the People of Guinea Need You to Do the Right Thing and Withdraw Your Support for Conde

September 28, 2011

Yesterday, as members of the military, dressed as civilians, infiltrated the protest to conduct “quiet” executions by using knives instead of guns, the Guinean police were breaking bones and inflicting dangerous head injuries. On Monday, the government gave approval for the march and said that only the police would be there to cover security. The marchers never made it to the rally location, the 28th of September stadium, as they were dissuaded by thick tear gas. The police began to push the demonstrators back to their neighborhoods and then blocked entrances. In some cases, demonstrators were chased into their neighborhoods and pursued by the police into their houses.

Today, state-sponsored violence continues (see the article below). Police have entered “opposition” neighborhoods and arrested several dozen people. In pursuit of demonstrators, the have made sure to beat up both women and the elderly.

The United States and the European Union both appeal for calm and dialogue. And, Amnesty International says that Guinea should launch an immediate investigation. Good luck with that.

The U. S. State Department spokeswoman, among other things, said “now is not the time to lose democratic progress that took 50 years to achieve”. Not sure if she said this with a straight face, but she, like many, are under the erroneous impression that Guinea has made democratic progress. When the US and others finally give up on Conde, which they will have to do sooner or later, they should make a public apology to the people of Guinea for shoving down their throats the guy who lost the election and who is hellbent on destroying the country to achieve ethnic anihilation.

Tension in Guinea as Urges Calm

Guinean police fanned out across the capital on Wednesday as deadly unrest overshadowed a “day of national reconciliation” and rights groups warned the government was repeating the mistakes of its autocratic predecessors.

Police descended into opposition strongholds in the capital Conakry, arresting dozens, witnesses said, a day after clashes between protesters and security forces left two dead and roughly 40 injured.

“Since this morning we have been terrorized here by dozens of policemen who have come into neighbourhoods attacking everyone, hitting the women and the old, and chasing and stopping the youth,” one witness told AFP on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday two men were killed and more than three dozen wounded when opposition supporters, demanding electoral reform and defying a government ban on rallies, faced off against heavy police deployments throughout the capital.

One man was shot dead by police, according to his family, and another was stabbed to death, according to medical officials, while some 24 members of the security forces and around 15 protestors had been wounded in what Prime Minister Mohamed Said Fofana called a “day of sorrow”.

Amnesty International, which said three protesters had died, called on Guinea to “immediately carry out an investigation”.

“It’s deeply alarming that President Alpha Conde is resorting to exactly the same brutal methods as his predecessors,” the rights group said in a statement.

The United States called for peaceful demonstrations and urged security forces to refrain from excessive force.

Warning that “violence undermines rule of law and threatens Guinea’s nascent democracy”, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that with legislative elections set for December “now is not the time to lose democratic progress that took 50 years to achieve”.

Tuesday’s violence erupted on the eve of the second anniversary of a notorious massacre in Guinea that preceded the fall of its military junta and a transition toward democracy.

Conde declared September 28 to be a national “day of national reconciliation” in a bid to underline the country’s progress since the fall of the junta regime.

But critics accuse Conde of mishandling preparations for legislative elections due on December 29, and warn that this risks unravelling the gains in a nation that had been crippled for decades by coups and authoritarian regimes.

Conde, who had been a veteran opposition leader during years of despotic rule, was elected in November 2010 in the first free polls in the history of the country since independence in 1958.

On September 28, 2009, thousands gathered at a stadium in the capital to voice opposition against Moussa Dadis Camara’s military junta.

Troops moved in, killing at least 157 and injuring hundreds more, with reports indicating that 131 women were raped in the chaos.

An official commemoration ceremony was held at the national parliament Tuesday with members of the government and religious leaders attending.

But the Guinean Organisation for the Defence of Human Rights said no one had been arrested for the massacre, while some suspects had even been promoted to top civilian and military positions.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) singled out Lieutenant Colonel Claude Pivi, named presidential security minister, and Lieutenant Colonel Moussa Tiegboro Camara, appointed director of the National Agency against Drugs, Organised Crime and Terrorism.

Meanwhile, a Guinean court on Wednesday sentenced 16 people to death for committing “pre-meditated murder” during inter-ethnic clashes in May, Justice Minister Christian Snow said.

A court in the eastern city of Kankan also sentenced 20 others to between five and 20 years for involvement in violence between indigenous Kpeles and ethnic Malinkes, where at least 25 people died, including 10 who were said to have been burnt alive.

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