Amid Violence, Guinea Holds “Day of National Reconciliation”

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 4:07 am (UTC-5)
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Guinean President Alpha Conde has declared Wednesday to be a “day of national reconciliation” to mark the two-year anniversary of a massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators, even as fresh violence broke out Tuesday between security forces and opposition protesters.

President Conde called for the day of remembrance to commemorate the more than 150 people killed in 2009 when government forces opened fire on protesters in a packed stadium during a demonstration against the country's former military rulers. More than 100 women at the rally reportedly were raped during the incident.

On Tuesday, rights group Human Rights Watch said that Guinea's current government has failed to bring justice to the victims of the massacre. The group said that “declaring September 28 a day of reconciliation does not free Guinean authorities from their responsibility to prosecute those responsible”.

At least three protesters were killed Tuesday in the capital, Conakry, when police and paramilitary forces prevented demonstrators from gathering to protest what they say are President Conde's attempts to rig upcoming parliamentary elections.

Witnesses say security forces wielded batons, fired tear gas and even used live rounds of ammunition to disperse the protesters, some of whom were throwing rocks. Guinean officials said at least 23 police officers were injured by protesters.

Mr. Conde took office in December, winning Guinea's first democratic election since the country won independence in 1958.

Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place by the end of the year.