Guinea Update 3/23: Opposition to Hold Mass Meeting Tomorrow, Conde Gov’t Makes Last Minute Location Change
GUINEA UPDATE 3/23/12
The following Guinean media outlets were sources for this update: africaguinee.com and guinee58.com
The opposition will challenge statements made by Gen. Ibrahima Balde, commander of the gendarmerie, claiming that the Opposition distributed weapons to its supporters before the attempted gathering at Bonfi stadium on March 17, 2012.
RPG will lodge a complaint against opposition supporters they accuse of attacking its party headquarters, in Hamdallaye. The opposition maintains that it did not attack the headquarters and says it looks forward to responding to the complaint.
The Opposition plans to hold a mass meeting at Bonfi stadium, this Saturday, March 24. Because of the government’s insistence that it never received the appropriate paperwork to reserve the stadium, the opposition will submit its new paperwork for this Saturday, through a bailiff to the mayor’s office and Guinean and international media are invited to witness the process.
Gen. Kelefa Diallo announced that military persons are prohibited from carrying weapons in public unless they are under orders and on a specific mission. This change was decided upon a while ago as part of the overall program to reform the Guinean army.
It appears that at least 40 opposition supporters were arrested on Saturday, March 17, 2012, as the opposition attempted to meet at Bonfi stadium. The opposition maintains the arrests were made by Guinean security forces without cause and is demanding that all be released immediately.
Four bodyguards of Lansana Kouyate were arrested by state security offices outside Bonfi stadium on March 17, 2012. They have been transferred to a prison in Coronthie, which is quite distant from Conakry and, supposedly, it is a much tougher prison.
The government has denied the opposition’s request to use Bonfi stadium for its planned mass meeting, tomorrow, Saturday, March 24. The government has designated a venue in Coleah, instead for the opposition to meet. The reasons for the change, according to the government, are safety and capacity.