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Guinea protest clashes

Friday, May 11, 2012 - 00:58

May 11 - Protesters wounded in clashes with police during protests over government handling of impending elections. Rough cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Guinea security forces used guns, tear gas and truncheons on Thursday (May 10) to scatter protesters angered by the government's handling of forthcoming parliamentary elections, according to witnesses. Witnesses said more than two thousand people joined the protest before police charged and that at least two people were injured by live rounds. One protester said he was shot in the foot by a soldier he approached when he saw him struggling with an elderly man. Another protester said he saw a man shot in the back during the clashes, in which some demonstrators lobbed chunks of concrete at the police. Tensions have been rising in the West African state between the administration of President Alpha Conde and the opposition, which has accused him of attempting to consolidate power by pre-rigging the polls in his favour. Wrangling over how to organize the vote has caused the date of the poll, initially meant to come on the heels of Conde's election in late 2010, to backslide repeatedly. Others at the demonstration in the Bambeto neighbourhood of Conakry shouted "Alpha Zero" and "Down with CENI (independent national electoral commission)". A government spokesman said that the demonstration had been authorised, but that police were forced to intervene after the protesters became unruly. He gave no details on injuries. Conde last month scrapped a July 8 election date to give officials more time to fix problems in the voter registration system, a move welcomed by opposition parties. But opposition figures have also demanded that electoral body officials resign and be replaced over concerns that they are biased in Conde's favour. The standoff has heightened tensions in the nation which has been plagued by coups and has rekindled divisions between the country's two most populous ethnicities, the Malinke and the Peul. Conde, a Malinke, narrowly defeated Peul candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo in the 2010 polls.

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Guinea protest clashes

Friday, May 11, 2012 - 00:58