Protesters burned tires and threw stones at police in Guinea’s capital Conakry this Monday in the first of a series of planned demonstrations against a possible change to the constitution that could let President Alpha Conde seek a third term.
While the number of protesters in demonstrations scattered across the capital was low, the security services were out in force, breaking up makeshift barricades and making some arrests.
Conde’s second and final five-year term expires in 2020 but the 81-year-old leader has refused to rule out running again and asked his government last month to look into drafting a new constitution.
Two demonstrators were hit by gunfire from the security forces, according to opposition leader Cellou Diallo’s chief of staff, Nadia Nahman, and a resident called Alpha Balde.
Government official Souleymane Camara said the authorities could not immediately verify the report and were investigating.
Political protests, labor strikes and demonstrations against bauxite mining companies in the West African country often turn violent.
The homes of the two main opposition politicians – Sydia Touré and former Prime Minister Cellou Diallo – are currently surrounded by police and gendarmes with lorries.
Many shops, schools and businesses have shut and roads are mostly empty.
Several civil society leaders were arrested over the weekend. They are accused of nurturing the plans for the protest.