Protests in Guinea Turn Violent

Posted May 10th, 2012 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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Police in Guinea have used tear gas and batons to disperse protesters demanding the government open talks with the opposition about the organization of the long-delayed legislative elections.

A VOA reporter said clashes between police and demonstrators took place Thursday as the crowd tried to gather for a march to a stadium in the capital, Conakry.

The reporter said the protesters were also attacked by youths who support President Alpha Conde.

At least 15 people were reported injured.

Elections were scheduled for July 8, but President Conde postponed them last month, citing technical problems with the voter registration system. The protesters are calling for the electoral commission to be reorganized and for the voter list to be audited.

Guinea's last legislative elections took place in June 2002, during the rule of President Lansana Conte.

The European Union, which cut off aid to Guinea after a 2008 military coup, has said the polls must be held before it fully resumes its aid programs.

Guinean opposition parties are demanding an audit of the voter rolls and changes in the country's electoral commission, which they say favors the ruling party.

President Conde was elected in 2010, during Guinea's first free and fair presidential election since independence in 1958.