People march during a protest over a suspected effort by President Alpha Conde to seek a third term in Conakry, Guinea October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Saliou Samb
CONAKRY (Reuters) – Two people were killed in Guinea on Monday, authorities said, as protesters and police clashed during a funeral procession for those killed in earlier protests over a suspected effort by President Alpha Conde to extend his mandate.
The West African country has been rocked by demonstrations organised by a coalition of politicians and activists opposed to a constitutional change that could let Conde seek a third term.
Police used tear gas, batons, and hot water cannons when violence broke out during a procession in the capital Conakry to mark the burial of 11 people killed during protests in October.
“Some were wounded and there was loss of life,” police spokesman Morya Kaba said on state television. A local hospital had registered two deaths, he said.
Opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo told journalists the victims were killed by live bullets. Reuters could not independently verify if that was the case.
The 81-year-old Conde, whose second and final five-year term expires next year, has refused to rule out running again and asked his government last month to look into drafting a new constitution.
His opponents fear that could be used as a reset button on his presidency, allowing him to run again like other African leaders who have amended or changed constitutions in recent years to stay in power.
Conde’s first election victory in 2010 raised hopes for democratic progress in Guinea after two years of military rule and nearly a quarter of a century under authoritarian President Lansana Conte, who died in 2008.
But his critics accuse him of cracking down on dissent and violently repressing protests – charges he denies.
Reporting by Saliou Samb; writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien