"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

9.30.2009

bad news from conakry

Things are not good in Guinea. After 50,000 people took to the streets to protest a rumor that the head of the military junta that took over the country last December intends to run for the presidency, the army reacted with force. Given Captain Moussa Dadis Camara's somewhat less than stable behavior of late - not to mention his increasingly strong grip on power in the country - it appears the people of Conakry have a well-founded fear. At least one Guinea-watcher expects the demonstrations to continue for several months.

Local human rights activists report that at least 157 people were killed by government troops during Monday's protest. They also note that women are being raped in public and that soldiers are bayonetting civilians. From the BBC:
Alpha Conde, head of the Rally of the People of Guinea party, said he would return there to "mobilise the people".

..."We can't fight and then draw back, we fought for change so we can't retreat now," Mr Conde, speaking from New York, told the BBC.

"We want free and democratic elections, but considering what happened yesterday, we now want the government to go and for it to be replaced by a national government that can organise elections."

Mr Conde said the government had been "discredited" by the violence, which he said had been "planned and were directed by the president's own advisor".

On Tuesday, the French government took the key step of cutting its aid to Guinea's military and will push the EU to do the same today.

Here's a useful Q&A about these events. Are there any Guinea-watchers who could give us more information or context?

3 Comments:

Blogger Shelby said...

You might find this Ethan Zuckerman post interesting: http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2009/09/28/protesters-killed-by-coup-government-in-guinea/
-Shelby

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 1:52:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Thanks, Shelby! I also read a great article today from the new African Studies Review that helps - will try to get a writeup of that and a link to Ethan's post up soon.

Friday, October 02, 2009 7:55:00 PM

 
Blogger Ron Rollins said...

It's always interesting the way France reacts to coutnries where they don't have oil contracts, while condemning the Americans for doing the same thing.

Friday, October 02, 2009 7:58:00 PM

 

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