Opposition groups say at least one person was killed and several injured in clashes with police after a peaceful assembly plan was blocked.
Protests against Guinea’s military government and its handling of plans to return to democracy have paralyzed the capital, with organizers saying one person has been killed.
The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) said one person died after being shot in the Conakry suburb of Hamdallaye, and several others were injured during protests on Thursday.
The FNDC is an influential political coalition that called for protests last week to condemn the military’s “unilateral handling” of a return to civilian rule after it seized power in 2021. The former Rassemblement pour le peuple guinéen in power and the National Alliance for Change and Democracy, another coalition of parties and associations, also called on its supporters to join the demonstrations.
Authorities had previously banned the gathering and have not confirmed the death.
The public prosecutor on Thursday ordered immediate legal action against the organizers.
The FNDC accused the military leaders of “systematically refusing” to establish a “credible dialogue” to define the terms of the transition.
Colonel Mamady Doumbouya was sworn in as interim president last October after leading the coup against President Alpha Condé, whose attempt to extend his hold on power for a third term has sparked widespread anger. Doumbouya said his administration’s mission was to “rebuild the state” by drafting a new constitution, fighting corruption, reforming the electoral system and then holding “free, credible and transparent” elections.
On Thursday, the president of the ECOWAS regional bloc, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, said he had recently convinced the army to speed up the return to democracy.
“I was in Conakry with the chairman of the commission [of ECOWAS] make the military junta understand the decision of the summit of heads of state that the transition cannot exceed 24 months,” said Embalo, speaking alongside French President Emmanuel Macron during a press briefing in Bissau.
“They had offered 36 months, but we managed to convince them,” he added.
But Ousmane Gaoual Diallo, Guinean minister and spokesman for the transitional administration, told the AFP news agency that “neither the government nor the presidency confirms this information on the duration of the transition in Guinea”.
Clashes erupted Thursday morning between young demonstrators and police in several neighborhoods considered opposition strongholds in the capital, an AFP journalist noted.
Protesters erected barricades and burned tires while police fired tear gas to disperse small groups by throwing rocks.
Most downtown neighborhoods remained quiet, but activity nonetheless came to a halt.
The boulevard du Commerce, a main axis usually crowded, was almost deserted at noon.
“We are delighted with the success of our call to demonstrate, it was perfect,” Ibrahima Diallo, FNDC chief of operations, told AFP.
“The city has been calm everywhere, the administration is paralyzed – this is a great success for us.”
Military authorities in May banned any public demonstrations that could be interpreted as a threat to public order.
The FNDC had announced demonstrations for June 23, but later called them off, indicating it was ready to give the transitional administration a “chance” and begin dialogue.
But their patience was shattered after a meeting with the authorities which the FNDC described as a “travesty”.
The group condemned the “solitary and authoritarian conduct of the transition” and its “serious attacks on fundamental rights and freedoms”.
Three FNDC leaders were arrested on July 5, sparking some of the first violent protests since the coup.
All three were released after being found not guilty of contempt of court over comments they posted on social media criticizing the prosecutor’s office and the military-appointed parliament.