Guinea opposition calls off protests

Guinea opposition calls off protests

A political coalition in Guinea on Saturday said it was calling off planned protests against the country's ruling junta, at the request of a West African regional group.

The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) had called for fresh demonstrations in the capital Conakry on Monday and September 4, after accusing junta forces of killing two teenagers during previous protests.

But in a statement sent to AFP on Saturday, the FNDC said it had "complied with a request from the heads of the Economic Community of West African States and Guinea Christians to suspend the peaceful citizen demonstrations".

The September 4 protest would have fallen on a Sunday, "a day of prayer for our Christian compatriots."

The FNDC said it wanted "to give yet another chance to ECOWAS mediation so that it can find a way out of the Guinean crisis maintained by the military junta."

It was not suspending its call for nationwide protests on September 5, however.

The ECOWAS pointman for Guinea, former Benin president Thomas Boni Yayi, has been holding talks in the country since August 21.

The FNDC, a coalition of political parties, trade unions and civil society organisations, was banned by the junta in August.

The FNDC, relatives and neighbours accused junta leader Mamady Doumbouya's forces of having killed the two boys, charges the junta has denied.

The FNDC spearheaded protests against Conde while he was in power, fiercely opposing his bid for a third term that it said was unconstitutional. The demonstrations were often brutally repressed.

Since the coup, the group has turned its focus on the junta, progressively amplifying its concern over human rights and the pace of return to civilian rule.

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