In Guinea, Wave of Protests Leaves at Least 11 Dead

In Guinea, Wave of Protests Leaves at Least 11 Dead

This year, nationwide demonstrations by teachers seeking better pay had closed schools for five weeks. On Wednesday, the teachers suspended their protests after getting government assurances that their salaries would be increased.

Millimouno Fara Boka, a teachers’ union member, said the sheer volume of protesters — mothers and students had joined in the demonstrations — had proved persuasive to the government.

“I have never seen protests like these before,” he said.

Mariama Magasouba, 38, a mother of four, said she had joined in the demonstrations because she was tired of seeing her children sitting at home. Schools reopened on Wednesday, though many teachers and students did not return to class immediately, fearful because of the other protests still going on.

Most of those rallies are led by opposition parties demanding results from municipal council elections held last month. President Alpha Condé’s party is claiming victory, but the official winners have not been announced, and opposition party members say they suspect fraud.

In February, the country held its first municipal council elections since the end of military rule in 2010. The elections had been scheduled to take place eight years ago, but they were repeatedly postponed because of political infighting and a lack of money. People appointed by the president have occupied most municipal council seats until now.

When he first took office in 2010, Mr. Condé promised to strengthen democracy and fight corruption. But he and his son have been implicated in corruption scandals, accused of election irregularities and criticized for cracking down on press freedom. Several journalists have been arrested and some media operations have been suspended.

This week, government supporters attacked a building in Conakry housing two radio stations and a television station, and they vandalized cars surrounding the building. On the same day, another group of demonstrators set fire to a vehicle being used by journalists traveling in the Conakry suburbs.

In a statement, Amnesty International condemned the attacks. “It is the responsibility of the authorities to ensure that the media can exercise freely and without fear of attacks or threats,” the group said.

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