Clashes in Guinea ahead of polls

2010-10-19 08:07

Conakry - Supporters of Guinean presidential candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo fought with police in the suburbs of the capital on Monday, ahead of the much-delayed run-off vote scheduled for Sunday.

In one incident, supporters gathered to welcome Diallo back to the capital after he returned from campaigning in the north of the country.

Supporters threw rocks and damaged cars, and police responded by using tear gas, witnesses said.

In another suburb, a group of women gathered at the headquarters of a political party that supports Diallo, and they were dispersed with tear gas. Dozens of the women sought refuge in a nearby mosque after the police intervention, one of the women told AFP.

Meanwhile, Diallo threatened to boycott Sunday's vote unless the head of the national independent electoral commission resigned, saying he favoured his rival Alpha Conde.

Diallo, a former prime minister, officially won 43% of votes in June's first round, while Conde took 18%.

The presidential election is a major event for Guinea, which is currently ruled by an interim government under a military junta that pledged to bring democracy to the nation. Guinea has known nothing but military or despotic rule since its independence from France in 1958.