Protester Shot Dead In Guinea Fuel Hike Demonstration
A 19-year-old protester was shot dead by security forces in Conakry, Guinea on Wednesday, June 1st. Thierno Mamadou Diallo was allegedly shot in the head while participating in demonstrations against a 20% fuel hike.
The demonstrations are the largest to occur in the country since the coup d’état of September 2021 that brought a military junta into power. The death of Diallo was confirmed by family members and the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of civil activists and opposition politicians.
“We demonstrated all day against the announcement by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of an increase in the price of a liter of fuel,” said Amadou Diouma Diallo, a protester.
“During the day, the riot police used tear gas to disperse us. There was calm. Then at night, the demonstrations resumed. The police came to fire warning shots.” Reportedly, that was when the protester was shot and killed.
19-year-old Diallo was shot in the Hamdallaye suburb, which is an area known as an opposition stronghold.
The FNDC accused the defense and security forces of Guinea of using live ammunition against the demonstrators.
“The bloody repression of the demonstrations by the defense and security forces contrasts with Colonel Doumbouya’s takeover speech, in which he castigated the (previous government’s) killings of demonstrators and who had pledged not to commit the same as his predecessors,” they said in a statement.
The FNDC had initially supported the Doumbouya-led military junta, as they did not agree with former President Alpha Conde’s intentions to cling onto power as well as his use of excessive force against citizens who protested.
Still on Guinea Fuel Hike Demonstration…
The coalition thought Doumbouya’s junta would bring significant change to the country. The FNDC changed its stance when the military junta announced that a transition to civilian political leadership would only take place after 36 months. The military junta also banned all protests and demonstrations during those 36 months.
Security Minister Bachir Diallo promised an investigation into the death of Thierno Diallo. “I energetically condemn the actions that led to the loss of life,” he said.
Conakry Public Prosecutor Alphonse Charles Wright requested that a list of all police officers present at the scene of the crime be given to him. Wright also requested he is given operational order documents.
The prosecutor also indicated that police would take control of the crime scene. This willingness to investigate the shooting and hold whoever is responsible for the crime accountable is a step away from past ways of doing things.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office … warns against any political exploitation of the judicial investigation and reiterates that it will initiate legal proceedings in accordance with the law,” Wright said.
Wright also warned against using the victim’s funeral as a platform to protest and express political opinions. The FNDC had planned another demonstration but eventually decided to cancel the protest.
It did, however, call on the public to maintain pressure on the authorities so they do not kill citizens with impunity. The military junta’s banning of protests and arrests of prominent political players has been seen as an authoritarian move. The United Nations recently called on the junta to allow demonstrations, an appeal they rejected.