Violent demonstrations in Conakry: 17 police officers injured

Three leaders of a collective in Guinea were charged and imprisoned Thursday for “contempt of court” before a trial scheduled for Friday in Conakry, where their supporters defied the junta’s ban on demonstrations, protesting against their arrest.

These demonstrations, which began Tuesday evening, are among the first since the military came to power in a context of growing discontent and the detention of several former officials by a special anti-corruption court.

The junta led by Colonel Mamady Condé, which overthrew President Alpha Condé on September 5, 2021, proclaimed on May 13 the ban “until election campaign periods” of any demonstration on the public highway “likely to compromise social tranquility and the correct execution of activities” during the three years supposed to precede a return of civilians to the head of the country.

But since Tuesday evening, clashes have rocked Conakry, and after a lull in the early morning on Thursday, demonstrators armed with stones and sticks again clashed with the police in suburban neighborhoods such as Bambéto, Hamdallaye and Wanidara, according to an AFP journalist.

The protesters stoned police vehicles, overturned garbage cans, erected barricades with tree trunks and old tables. Businesses in these areas were closed.

They were protesting against the Tuesday arrest of three members of the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of parties, unions and civil society organizations which had orchestrated months of mobilization from 2019 to 2021 against President Condé (2010-2021).

These three members of the FNDC are the national coordinator, Oumar Sylla – known as Foniké Mengué –, Mamadou Billo Bah and the rapper Alpha Midiaou Bah – alias Djanii Alfa.

They were Thursday “charged with contempt of court and public insults” and imprisoned in Conakry, one of their lawyers, Halimatou Camara, told AFP. Their trial is scheduled for Friday morning, said Me Camara. They had been in custody since Tuesday.

MM. Oumar Sylla and Mamadou Billo Bah are prosecuted for having “produced and disseminated through a computer system offensive remarks against the National Transitional Council (CNT)”the transitional Parliament set up by the junta, explained Tuesday the prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Conakry, Alphonse Richard Wright, on the private radio Fim FM.

The rapper Djanii Alfa had recently criticized the words of the president of the CNT, before being threatened with arrest by the prosecutor, according to his defense. Mr. Sylla had criticized these alleged threats from the prosecutor on his Facebook page.

17 police officers injured

Seventeen police officers have been injured, including one seriously, in the past three days in clashes in Conakry, Guinean police said in a statement on Wednesday. The FNDC had called for demonstrations on June 23, overriding the ban imposed by the junta. He had suspended his appeal the day before the demonstration, to “give a chance” to the dialogue proposed by the transitional government.

But after the last meeting with him, the FNDC denounced “a dating parody”as well as “the solitary and authoritarian conduct of the transition” and “serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms”.

The three men imprisoned on Thursday were violently arrested on Tuesday by the police at the headquarters of their coalition in Conakry, where they were holding a press conference. MM. Sylla and Billon Bah were beaten and their clothes torn by police, according to an AFP journalist. A large part of the political class condemned their arrest and was indignant at the method.

Junta leader Colonel Doumbouya has pledged to return power to elected civilians within three years. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rejected this deadline on July 3, during a meeting in Accra, without announcing new sanctions against Guinea, already suspended from the organization’s bodies.

Violent demonstrations in Conakry: 17 police officers injured