Gunfire and barricades in Guinea as president heads for third term

Supporters of the main opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo of UFDG party clash with security forces after results showed President Alpha Conde winning re-election in a poll that the opposition says was unconstitutional, in Conakry, Guinea October 23, 2020. REUTERS/ Souleiman Camara

Gunfire rang out across Guinea’s capital Conakry on Friday and security forces dispersed protesters after results showed President Alpha Conde winning re-election in a poll the opposition says was unconstitutional.

Conde, 82, won around twice as many votes as his nearest rival, opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo, with 37 of 38 districts counted, according to preliminary results from the election commission on Thursday night.

The president’s decision to run for a third term has sparked repeated protests over the past year, resulting in dozens of deaths, including at least 17 in skirmishes since Sunday’s vote.

Conde says a constitutional referendum in March reset his two-term limit, but his opponents say he is breaking the law by holding onto power. Diallo’s camp said it has found evidence of fraud and will contest the result in the constitutional court.

Gunfire was heard on Friday in the Sonfonia neighborhood of Conakry, where Diallo supporters clashed with security forces, witnesses said.

“There were warning shots. The police intervened to clear the barricades and disperse the demonstrators,” Oumar Camara, a local resident, told Reuters.