Guinea officials "worried" over call for post-vote protests

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2015 11:25 AM
Guinea officials "worried" over call for post-vote protests

CONAKRY, Guinea (AP) — Guinea's capital remained calm Sunday, a day after President Alpha Conde won a second five-year term, although the government is preparing for possible violence because the loser in the presidential contest vowed to protest, a spokesman said Sunday.

Conde earned nearly 58 percent of the Oct. 11 vote, defeating his closest rival Cellou Dalein Diallo by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff, according to provisional results announced Saturday night.

Diallo, who lost to Conde in a runoff in 2010, said before the results were announced that he would protest, though he has not specified when. Earlier last week he said he would not recognize the results of the vote, alleging fraud.

Past elections in Guinea have been marred by violence, and at least three people were killed in clashes in the week before the latest vote.

The government is worried that Diallo's call for peaceful protests could result in similar clashes in the coming days, said spokesman Albert Damantang Camara.

"We know that in Guinea, there have never been peaceful demonstrations, and that this will necessarily lead to violence," Camara said.

State security forces have been implicated in past violent demonstrations in this West African nation, as have Conde's supporters.

In a statement last week, Human Rights Watch urged all parties to act with restraint and said security forces "should intervene to prevent violence in a lawful and impartial manner."