Opposition Funeral Procession: Rocks, Tear Gas and Shooting by Police and Gendarmes
Here are two articles which, hopefully, will give you an idea about how the funeral procession went today. The first article is written by a Guinean journalist who made the full trip with the cortege. The second is a Reuters article which picks up where the Guinean article leaves off.
Many questions remain, especially the number of casualties. More info to come . . .
posted March 8, 2013 at 10:51
There were thousands of people, including political leaders, motorcyclists, motorists, who have made a fitting tribute to six young activists aged 13 to 22 years, who were buried Friday in Bambeto cemetery on the outskirts of Conakry.
Opposition leaders who participated are Cellou Dalein Diallo, Sidya Touré, Lansana Kouyaté, Aboubacar Sylla, Kassory Fofana, Mouctar Diallo, Dr. Faya Millimouno, Daniel Kolié, Ahmed Tidjane Diallo, Dr. Fode Fofana Oussou and the bereaved families and many excited young supporters.
It all started very normally with a reunion at the home Cellou Dalein Diallo in Dixinn Bora, then on to at Donka Hospital for the removal of the bodies, followed by the great Friday prayer.
After the funeral prayer, the procession drove slowly to the cemetery along Prince Highway towards Bambeto via Dixinn, Bellevue, Hamdallaye, Dar es Salaam and finally the Bambeto cemetary.
Throughout the march, the young shouting things like “Allahu Akbar (God is great hear),” or other slogans which are very hostile to the regime. “Alpha assassin!”, “Alpha dictator”, “zero Alpha”, “Alpha incompetent,”
Throughout the journey, women were in tears when they saw the picture of the young Mamadou Alpha Diallo 15 years old. “He’s a kid,” they said. “The bastards killed him while they went to buy a loaf of bread Koloma,” retorted his relatives in poular.
Everything went well, excerpt there were a few problems along the way. First in front of the former headquarters of the presidential party, RPG, in between Hamdallye and Miniere there was a heavy police presence. Young people just booed the police on the spot.
Then before the Hamdallaye Squadron, the gate of the cemetary was barricaded and the police were stationed on the balcony. “You killed our friends but we will punish you,” said the youth. “You kill us as if we were not men,” they shouted
As before, at the RPG headquarters of the presidential party in Hamdallaye, there, it was tear gas and throwing stones for several minutes. The procession was cut in half. Fortunately, opposition leaders and the remains had managed to cross the passage.
“The seat of the RPG is not a republican institution. So the police have no place there. The day the police will leave there, our walk will be peaceful,” said Dr. Fode Fofana Oussou of the UFDG.
To 4:30 p.m., the remains were buried in Bambeto. Anger, sadness were visible on all faces.
In an impromptu speech, Cellou Dalein Diallo, the main opposition leader criticized the retrograde policy of Alpha Condé, which he said is exclusionary and arbitrary.
On the return home, clashes were reported at the intersection between youth and Bambeto forces.
Fri Mar 8, 2013 3:59pm EST
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY (Reuters) – Protesters clashed with Guinean police on Friday at a march by thousands of opposition supporters in the coastal capital Conakry, the latest in more than a week of violence stemming from a dispute over legislative elections.
Activists, who accuse President Alpha Conde of planning to rig the vote planned for May 12, were marking the funerals of nine people killed during rallies over the past 10 days.
Witnesses said a group attacked a temporary police post at a crossroads in the Bambeto neighborhood, near Conakry’s international airport, and police responded by firing warning shots and teargas to try to break up the crowd.
“They attacked the (police) post and wrecked it. We fired warning shots but the crowd continued to threaten us,” a police official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
Eight police officers were injured and around 10 protesters arrested, he said.
“The crowd has dispersed … We can still hear the shooting,” local resident Souleymane Bah told Reuters by phone. Police reinforcements were arriving on the scene, he added.
Hundreds have been injured since the opposition started rallying in the capital on February 27 and disturbances have also spread to several towns in the interior of the mineral-rich West African country.
Guinea is the world’s top supplier of the aluminum ore bauxite and holds rich deposits of iron ore. But political turmoil has unnerved investors.
The May vote is meant to complete a transition to civilian rule after a 2008 military coup, thereby unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars in European aid.
Conde’s government met an opposition delegation on Monday to try to resolve the dispute – though the main opposition leaders did not attend the meeting in protest at security forces’ use of violence.
Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said authorities had offered to allow civil society groups and foreign diplomats to act as independent observers of the electoral process.
“The opposition should accept that as a guarantee,” he said, referring to the observers. “We hope the opposition’s demands are not just a way of dodging the discussion. That would really be a pity.”
The opposition has demanded the government replace the South African firm Waymark, saying there were irregularities when it was awarded a contract to update the electoral register. Activists also want the right to vote for Guineans overseas.
“We do not agree with the framework we are being offered,” said opposition spokesman Aboubacar Sylla. “We want the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to be frozen immediately so the conclusions of this dialogue can be applied.”
Behind Guinea’s political feuding there is a deep-rooted rivalry between the Malinke and the Peul, its two largest ethnic groups. The Malinke broadly support Conde, who comes from that ethnic group, while the opposition draws heavily from the Peul.
(Reporting by Saliou Samb; Editing by Andrew Heavens)