'Several gunshots' - one killed in first major protest under Guinea junta

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  • One person was killed in protests against Guinea's military junta.
  • The protesters were also angry about the price of fuel.
  • The junta is led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya.

One person was killed in Guinea's capital late on Wednesday during protests over fuel price hikes, an opposition coalition and a member of the victim's family said, in the most serious unrest since a military junta took power last year.

READ | 'Speak to each other like brothers' - Guinea junta rejects UN call to end ban on protests

Gunfire rang out in Conakry overnight as young people barricaded streets and set tyres alight in protest over a 20% increase in the price of gasoline, a Reuters reporter and witnesses said.

"Angry young people went out to protest and clash with security forces," said Souleymane Bah, a resident of Conakry's Koloma neighbourhood. 

Bah added:

We heard several gunshots. There was also teargas.

One protester was shot dead by security forces, according to a statement by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of politicians and activists that opposed former President Alpha Conde's efforts to hold onto power.

A family member of the victim, who asked not to be named, confirmed he had been killed in the protest.

Guinea's interim authorities had no immediate comment. They have previously justified the fuel price increase by citing rising prices on the international market.

Wednesday's protests were by far the largest since Colonel Mamady Doumbouya led a coup against Conde last September. Conde had changed the constitution to allow himself to stand for a third term in office in 2020, sparking widespread anger.

Many of Conde's opponents, including FNDC leaders, cautiously welcomed the coup, but relations with Doumbouya's junta have since soured.

In May, the main opposition parties rejected a 36-month transition to democratic elections that was approved by the interim parliament. The protests on Wednesday took place in neighbourhoods known as bastions of opposition support.

In its statement, the FNDC said the security forces' response "contrasts with Colonel Doumbouya's rhetoric when he took power, which excoriated killings during protests".

Following criticism of the 36-month timeline, the junta last month banned all public demonstrations, drawing a rebuke from the United Nations.

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