Recent protests turn violent in Guinea

Peaceful Assembly 

Violence during public protests continues to be a problem in Guinea. On 13th October, protests were staged by customers of the Guinean Electricity Company in a suburb of Kindia called Férefou. Local residents mobilised against the frequent load shedding and unpredictable electric power outages in the city. The protests were violently disrupted by security forces who used tear gas to disperse protesters. Six people were injured in clashes as a result of excessive force by security forces leading to at least twenty arrests. 

In a second recent example of protest violence, on 20th October, students of Institut d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme (the Institute of Architecture and Urbanism) in Conakry staged a violent protest to demand the dismissal of the institution's CEO and senior academics. Their demands related to catastrophic results in the students’ architectural project exams this year. The fact that only a few passed the exam in 2016 fuelled anger amongst the students and led to their protest. Twenty students were arrested during the protest, which led to the burning of the Institute’s drawing room and a few offices.

Expression

Recent events in Guinea have highlighted the risks that journalists face when reporting on sensitive issues. On 22nd October, four reporters (Alpha Ousmane Bah, Abdoulaye Sadjio Diallo, Mohamed Samoura and Alpha Boubacar Kessema Diallo) of Espace FM Fouta were brutally attacked by unionists during the live coverage of a scuffle between two rival road transport unions. The trade unions, CNTG (Confédération Nationale de Travailleurs de Guinée) and USTG (Union Syndicale des Travailleurs de Guinée), were said to be fighting over the control of a bus terminal in Labe, 450 km from the capital Conakry. Alpha Ousame Bah commented on his ordeal after the attack: 

'Having got wind of the conflict, we went to cover it, only for the unionists to pounce on us, destroying our recorders, cameras and note pads.'