Guinea Police Clash With Protesters, 3 Dead

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am (UTC-5)
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Witnesses and officials in Guinea say at least three people were killed Tuesday in clashes between security forces and opposition protesters.

The fighting erupted in the capital, Conakry, after police and paramilitary forces prevented opposition supporters from gathering for a rally called to protest the government's handling of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Witnesses say security forces wielded batons, fired tear gas and even used live rounds of ammunition to disband the protesters, some of whom were throwing rocks.

Guinean officials said at least 23 police officers were injured by protesters.

A coalition of opposition groups has accused President Alpha Conde of attempting to rig the election to ensure he wins a majority in parliament. The election is expected to be held by the end of this year.

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

Ahead of the planned demonstration, Guinea's military ordered its soldiers to stay in their barracks.

The military has been accused of taking part in past massacres of opposition demonstrators. Wednesday marks the two-year anniversary of a massacre at a Conakry soccer stadium in which more than 150 people were killed by security forces during an opposition protest.

A group of military officers ruled the country at that time, after seizing power nine months earlier.

A transition government led by General Sekouba Konate steered the country to a presidential election last year.