Guinea: Group calls for protest against ruling junta on June 23

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A collective that has led the protest in Guinea against former President Alpha Conde called Friday for demonstrations on June 23, overriding a ban imposed by the junta that took power by force in 2021.

The National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC) denounced in a statement "the junta's manifest desire to remain in power forever," its "refusal" of dialogue and its "unilateral management" of affairs.

It called for a "peaceful citizen demonstration" on June 23 in the Conakry area to demand "a reasonable and consensual deadline" other than the 36 months set by the junta to return power to civilians. It called for dialogue, respect for human rights, and trials of those responsible for past political violence.

This call is in direct opposition to the May 13 ban on all demonstrations that the junta says would jeopardize the "proper execution of activities" during the three years before a civilian return to power.

The ban drew protests from parties, civil society and human rights activists.

In a letter to the government published on social networks, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT-France) and Agir ensemble pour les droits humains (AEDH) urged the authorities to restore the right to demonstrate "without delay.

Such restrictions "risk generating more tension" and "provoke possible violent interventions by the forces of order, accompanied by a disproportionate use of force and the possible use of firearms.

Guinea has a history of political violence. The FNDC orchestrated from 2019 to 2021 the mobilization against a third term of Alpha Conde. The crackdown resulted in dozens of civilian deaths. Rights advocates have long denounced the excessive use of force by police and gendarmes, as well as the impunity they enjoy.

More broadly, the recent measures taken by the junta constitute "a retreat from the rule of law and are aimed at suppressing all public dissent," the three organizations said.

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