Guinea opposition suspends anti-government protests

Monitoring Desk

CONAKRY: Guinea’s opposition has announced the suspension of protests against President Alpha Conde’s suspected bid to prolong his rule, after days of demonstrations that left at least three people dead.

The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of opposition groups, raised the stakes last week and called for “huge” and “open-ended” demonstrations.

The unrest was sparked by concerns that Conde intends to use a planned constitutional reform to seek a third term in office.

But the FNDC said it was “suspending the protests from January 15,” according to a statement released on Wednesday.

The suspension was called to allow for the “calm burial of our victims and for Guineans to restock” basic goods.

Conde, 81, has neither confirmed nor denied the claim that he put forward a draft constitution last month with the intention of keeping himself in office for a third term.

The current constitution in the former French colony stipulates a maximum two presidential terms.

The campaign period for legislative elections scheduled for February 16 will begin on Thursday at midnight, according to a presidential decree read by state media Wednesday.

The opposition has announced that it will boycott the ballot and prevent it being held.

The West African country has been wracked by demonstrations since mid-October and more than 20 people have been killed since the start of protests, which have drawn hundreds of thousands of people, while scores have been arrested.

Since Monday, three have been killed, including one in Conakry and two in the northern city of Labe, according to the victims’ families, security and medical officials.

Courtesy: (AFP)