Guinea, April 18 March: At Least 25 Injured, Opposition Spokesman Aboubacar Sylla Arrested, and Cops Shoot Live Ammunition Wounding Activists (Pics-Video)
Security forces lob tear gas at opposition marchers at the roundabout at Gbessia airport
Quote of the day: “We have received orders to uphold the law and maintain discipline,” – Guinean police colonel, Ansoumane Camara (from africaguinee.com). If this means shooting peaceful demonstrators with live ammunition, choking them with tear gas, and arresting opposition supporters without cause, it looks like they succeeded! (Guinea Oye)
Peaceful protests are not allowed in Guinea! What? If you march in a peaceful manner to protest the actions of the regime of Alpha Conde, you will be met with violence by RPG activists and security forces who will provoke you until you are forced to defend yourself. Then, the state-sponsored violence escalates further as dangerous amounts of tear gas are lobbed and security forces fire live ammunition at protesters. Welcome to democracy in Guinea.
Journalists, including those from aminata,com covering today’s peaceful march, witnessed opposition protesters with gunshot wounds who were being rushed away from the scene for medical assistance.
Opposition leader, Cellou Dalein Diallo left his home in Dixinn this morning and headed, with Mouctar Diallo, Lansana Kouyate, Aboubacar Sylla and other opposition leaders, to the roundabout at Gbessia airport, the place of convergence for the march. The plan was to join up with two other opposition leaders and their supporters — Sidya Toure and Fode Mohamed Soumah to continue the march. Instead, marchers were inundated with rocks by what appeared to be loyalists of Alpha Conde’s party, the RPG. The police followed up with massive tear gas and the opposition supporters responded with rocks. This was followed by police shooting rubber and live bullets. The march was not allowed to proceed further.
Yesterday, less than 24 hours before the start of the march, the Governor of Conakry, Sekou Resco Camara, submitted a letter to the opposition asking for it to alter its route for the march for “security reasons.” This request posed two problems for the opposition: first, a change of route with such short notice can cause confusion and disintegration of an event, especially if you are expecting hundreds of thousands of participants. Second, the opposition accuses Camara of financing RPG militias and Donzos to commit violence in opposition neighborhoods of Conakry in the wake of the February 27, 2013, march. The opposition declined to alter its route.
According to aminata.com regarding two opposition leaders arrested at the march site:
Lansana Kouyate announced that two opposition leaders were arrested along with their supporters: Aboubacar Sylla, president of the UFC party and spokesperson for the opposition coalition and Charles Pascal Tolno of the PPG party. The two leaders are being held at the Mobile Intervention and Security Company (CMIS) in Conakry and the two are charged with “violations of security.” Kouyate said, “We inform you that two of our colleagues with activists were arrested by the police. We call on national and international organizations to observe these human rights violations of civil liberties in the Guinean community.“ After the march was stopped by police, opposition leaders gathered at the home of Sidya Toure briefly to discuss next steps and then headed to CMIS to get their colleagues out of jail.
STAY TUNED . . .