Youths, defying a government ban on demonstrations, clashed with security forces in Guinea’s coastal capital Conakry, yesterday, as opposition leaders called for nationwide protests against the timing of elections.
Some erected barricades of logs and burning tyres, others threw stones and fired catapults at security forces who were trying to clear them out with tear gas.
Residents in Conakry’s Koloma neighbourhood reported hearing gunfire in the early afternoon as police and gendarmes moved back into areas they had been forced out of.
“Reinforcements apparently arrived. From my house I can see a big truck of security agents parked nearby. I heard several gunshots. I’m scared,” Koloma resident Nenen Barry told Reuters.
Government deputy spokesman Moustapha Naite said he did not know who had fired the shots and raised the prospect that gunmen may have infiltrated the protests to escalate the disorder.
“The opposition wants to push us to make a mistake, to create a deadly incident. We’re not going to oblige them,” he said.
A separate government statement reported protests, some of them authorised, in a handful of places outside Conakry. It said two civilians had been injured but gave no further details.