Two protesters have been shot dead by security forces in Guinea, on the first day of open-ended protests against President Alpha Condé’s plan to amend the constitution so he can serve a third term.
The protest, which have been severely repressed, had already caused the death of at least twenty civilians and a gendarme since mid-October.
The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution ( FNDC ), the collective of parties, unions and members of civil society which is leading the protest, called from Monday onwards for a massive and unlimited mobilization.
A 21-year-old senior student, Elhadj Mamadou Sow, was killed by a bullet fired by a law enforcement officer chasing young people in the Coza district of Conakry, revealed his uncle, a second youth was killed in the northern city of Labe.
Conakry was largely deserted on Monday, with businesses, schools and markets staying closed but correspondents say it is unclear how long the population will be willing to heed calls to shut down the city.
“The call for resistance launched by the FNDC is widely followed in several cities in Guinea.
This materialized by a total paralysis of the main road axes, the closing of shops and businesses, the total or partial cessation of activities or their slowing down depending on the location, ”said the FNDC in a press release.
This beginning of mobilization “is a success”. The FNDC reported clashes in Conakry, Boffa and Zérékoré, and four arrests in the capital.
The government had cited the disturbance of public order and the absence of a permit to demonstrate to severely suppress the first rallies from October.
He then authorized the demonstrations under conditions, without the violence ceasing completely.
Since mid-October, the FNDC has repeatedly taken tens or hundreds of thousands of Guineans to the streets in this small country of 13 million inhabitants.
The opposition is convinced that the head of state, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2015, intends to stand for re-election in late 2020, while the Constitution limits the number of presidential terms to two.
Those fears was reinforced in December when Mr. Condé, 81, indicated that he intended to submit to the Guineans a draft of a new Constitution, even if he did not expressly declare his personal intentions.