In a tragic turn of events, violence erupted in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, as armed security forces clashed with political activists on the eve of planned demonstrations against the junta that seized power in 2021. Protest organizers reported at least two fatalities.
Two young individuals, aged 16 and 18, reportedly lost their lives during a security operation in Conakry’s suburbs on Monday, on the eve of the second anniversary of the September 5, 2021 coup. The authorities have not yet commented on these tragic events.
The “Forces Vives” collective had called for a “peaceful” march on Tuesday to demand a swift return to civilian rule. However, the authorities responded by imposing a ban on all public gatherings, citing the need to “preserve public tranquility,” as stated in a press release by the Ministry of Territorial Administration on Monday evening.
Scattered groups of young individuals took to the streets, clashing with security forces in neighborhoods like Sonfonia, Wanindara, and Hamdallaye – known hotbeds of protest. Witnesses reported clashes involving the use of riot gear and stone-throwing between demonstrators and security forces. Dr. Aliou Kamara from Sonfonia mentioned receiving five young people with minor injuries, likely caused by truncheon blows and projectiles.
The Forces Vives accused the authorities of pursuing a strategy of “bloody repression” against Guineans in their quest for power. Guinea has been under junta rule since the military ousted civilian president Alpha Condé on September 5, 2021.
Under international pressure, the military junta has committed to transferring power to elected civilians by the end of 2024, allowing time for significant reforms. However, the Forces Vives contend that little progress has been made toward a transfer of power, citing the absence of essential components like a draft constitution, electoral code, election management body, technical operator, electoral register, and a realistic election budget.
Despite the second anniversary of the coup, the authorities did not announce any official celebrations. Instead, members of the junta and its government emphasized investments in facilities, legal reforms, and the holding of trials for past crimes as signs of progress. They rejected accusations of repressing freedom of expression and claimed to be ahead of the agreed timetable for the return of civilians to power.
As tensions continue to escalate, Guinea remains at a crossroads between its tumultuous past and the aspirations of its people for a more stable and democratic future.