International Community demands dialogue in Guinea after protest, deaths

CONAKRY, Guinea – The United Nations and other institutions within the international community have called for a political dialogue in the Republic of Guinea, where a dozen people are reported killed since protests began last Monday.

The regional group Ecowas, the UN, and European countries, in a joint statement, urged the government to organize elections that respect the country’s constitution.

Protesters in the country are critical of a possible change to the constitution that could lead to incumbent President Alpha Condé to seek unlimited terms in office after his second term as president.

About 70 protesters had been wounded by bullets, and 200 people had been arrested in recent protests, according to a coalition of opposition groups.

Last Wednesday, footage emerged on social media showing police officers using batons to beat two protesters. In one of the scenes, the police paraded the victim naked while pretending to slit his throat, according to the global campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“The Guinean government’s brutal suppression of protests and the near-total impunity for security forces abuses is a recipe for a worrying deterioration in human rights,” Corinne Dufka of HRW said.

The Guinean government – who initially ban protests on the grounds that the protesters did not notify the government in advance – said it strongly condemned and regretted the violence.

The international community, through its representatives in Guinea, has suggested that a speedy release of the opposition members detained could help ease tensions.

President Condé’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020.  As the end of his tenure expires, he has asked his government to look into drafting a new constitution that would eventually keep in power until death.

President Alpha Condé’ in white guarded by both Guinean and paid foreign private security
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