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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

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The trial of the leaders of the coalition group that called for ant-government demonstration in Guinea was suspended until Friday, as clashes continued for the third day in a row and the number of protesters killed climb from 7 to 10.

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Some shops have managed to reopened in Matoto, one of the largest cities in the capital, but protests continued in other neighborhoods such as Hamdallaye, Cosa, Koloma, Lambanyi and Kobaya, according to witnesses.

“These young people are crazy, we are tired, we just want them to go home, but it is impossible,” a police source said.

The eight leaders of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of opposition parties, trade unions and members of civil society, were brought to court in Dixinn, a district of Conakry, on Wednesday morning.

The president of the court suspended the proceedings, at the request of the prosecutor, to grant him to prepare his indictment, said one of the defence lawyers, Mohamed Traoré.

The trial is scheduled to resume on Friday with the indictment and oral arguments.

The FNDC has been campaigning for months against a draft revision of the constitution, ordered by the government, to allow Alpha Condé, 81, to run for a third term in office at the end of his final tenure in December 2020.

The death toll from Monday’s clashes has risen to 10 protesters killed, said the FNDC, which counted seven on Tuesday. It also reports 70 gunshot wounds and nearly 200 arrests, half of them in Conakry.

“There continue to be numerous incursions by law enforcement into the homes of citizens where women have been physically and verbally assaulted and their rice pots overturned.”

The government assures that the security forces do not use firearms and has only confirmed the death of a Conakry resident and a gendarme. However, AFP was able to establish a death toll of seven among the protesters, from relatives and doctors.

At the hearing, the accused denounced inhuman and degrading treatment meted to them while in police custody, including being confined in a cramped cells.

The eight men are on trial for making remarks that would disturb public order by calling for protests, according to the prosecution.

They were arrested on Saturday at the home of the FNDC coordinator, former minister Abdourahmane Sanoh, and face sentences of 3 to 5 years in prison, according to their lawyers.

The defence announced that it would plead “not guilty” as the prosecution did not have evidence that they committed any act likely to disturb public order by calling for peaceful demonstrations.

“The continuous intimidations of the government must stop, they can not force us abandon the fight for democracy,” the leader of the political opposition, Cellou Dalein Diallo, said on Wednesday, demanding that the charges be dropped.

Similar trials have been opened at the same time in other cities of the country, according to judicial sources and close to the FNDC.

 

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