Fifa visit: Guinea opposition puts off protest

2013-02-07 12:58
Alpha Conde (File, AFP)

Alpha Conde (File, AFP)

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Conakry - Guinea's opposition said on Thursday it will postpone a protest march against an alleged bid to rig an upcoming parliamentary election, to allow for a visit by Fifa chief Sepp Blatter.

"We have decided to postpone our peaceful march because of the visit of the Fifa president to our country [on Thursday] who we welcome and wish a pleasant stay," said Aboubacar Sylla, leader of the Union of Forces for Change party.

He said the protest will now take place on 13 February, and will be followed by paralysing strikes around the country "until all our demands are met".

But, Sylla said opposition supporters would turn out to welcome Blatter.

"We want to avoid individuals with bad intentions hurting him and the opposition being blamed."

Opposition parties are protesting against government's use of South African information consulting firm Waymark to draw up electoral lists, which they say is helping President Alpha Conde rig the 12 May elections.

On Wednesday Interior Minister Alhassane Conde urged the opposition to put off the planned march in light of Blatter's visit, as part of a whirlwind tour of Africa which will end in South Africa for the Cup of Nations final on Sunday.

Guinea's legislative polls, initially due to be held six months after Conde's election in December 2010, have been repeatedly postponed, with the opposition accusing election officials of manipulating the voter roll in favour of Conde's Rally of Guinea People (RPG).

Protests over the delays have often turned violent as opposition supporters clash with police.

The troubled nation has a long history of coups and attempted coups, and was ruled by successive authoritarian regimes until Conde's win in the country's first free polls since independence.

Read more on:    fifa  |  alpha conde  |  sepp blatter  |  guinea  |  west africa
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