GUINEA OPPOSITION MARCH UPDATE 9-20: “The Crowd is Enormous”
This post will be updated periodically throughout the day. –
UPDATE 2 – 4PM, EST
-Opposition marchers finally reached the esplanade at the September 28 stadium around 5PM local time. In the area of the Avaria market, before reaching the stadium, there was a second incident of rock throwing by RPG supporters. The police fired off a few gas canisters and things calmed down. At the stadium, opposition leaders gave speeches to rally the crowd. All in all, this was a very impressive march. When Guinea Oye! receives pictures they will be posted.
UPDATE 1 – noon, EST
-In Conakry, the day began with Cellou Dalein Diallo rallying his supporters in Bambeto and Lansana Kouyate doing the same in Matoto. The, Diallo supporters left Bambeto and headed to Matoto to join with Kouyate supporters to take the Fidel Castro highway and head for the rally at the September 28 stadium. According to all sources, the crowd is enormous, in spite of heavy rain, and stretching for several kilometers.
-Marchers are carrying signs which call attention to their concerns about legislative elections: “No Election Fraud,” “Waymark and Sabary Technology (election contractors) Should Get Out of Guinea Elections,” “Guineans in the Diaspora Should Be Allowed Vote in Legislative Elections.”
-Opposition leaders observed at the march are Cellou Dalein Diallo, Lansana Kouyate, Sidya Toure, Aboubacar Sylla, and Faya Millimono. Other leaders will join the march before the rally at the stadium.
-The police appear to be in near “stand down” mode. Before the march a national police official said that they would walk along the perimeter of the march, but not to interfere. It appears they are doing just that. Everything was going peacefully until RPG (Conde’s party) supporters began throwing stones at those in the march. The police asked marchers to ignore them and to speed up the march. Some opposition supporters began to hurl stones back. There should be more information on this later today.
-Some news sources suggest that the sheer number of people in the opposition march is forcing Alpha Conde to conduct a government shake-up. It is rumored that the shake-up will involve dismissal of military holding positions in the government, the appointment of Francois Fall to be Foreign Affairs minister and, like a bad penny which keeps showing up, Louceny Camara to receive an appointment to Conde’s cabinet.
-In Labe, people are demonstrating, all shops are closed. and the town is virtually paralyzed. Mamou merchants shut their shops down in a show of support for the opposition march. No protests have been observed in Kankan, Siguiri, and Fria.