UNCLAS CONAKRY 000510
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC KDEM PGOV GV
SUBJECT: INCREASE IN CIVIL DISTURBANCES IN CONAKRY
REF: CONAKRY 0480
Â¶1. (U) Over the past few days, there has been a noticeable
increase in the frequency of civil disturbances in Conakry.
After the youth demonstration in neighboring Kamsar on August
22 (located a few hours up the coast from Conakry) that
resulted in three civilians being shot by security forces
(reftel), there have been several spontaneous demonstrations
in the capital. Demonstrations temporarily shut down key
traffic routes on September 8 and 9 as youths gathered to
protest the continued lack of electricity. Usually
dispersing within an hour of starting, these sporadic
protests are generally seen as minor disruptions.
Â¶2. (U) Although the police have been able to peacefully
control the crowds, there have been incidents of tire
burnings and rock throwing. Around 17:00 on September 8,
youths throwing rocks attacked and destroyed a taxi because
the driver refused to yield to the demonstrators. There were
no injuries reported and the police were able to disperse the
crowd without using tear gas or firearms.
Â¶3. (SBU) There were reports of shots fired in the early
morning hours of September 9, which were believed to be
related to an alleged theft of a sport utility vehicle from a
downtown club by three police officers. In response to the
crime, a number of gendarmes set up a road block at the
Castro Bridge (which controls access to the downtown area)
for several hours.
Â¶4. (SBU) Conakry witnessed a similar increase in protest
activity during the same timeframe last year, which seemed to
coincide both with the rainy season coming to an end and the
beginning of Ramadan. The heavy rains over the summer months
usually deter most protesters. Meanwhile, prices for
foodstuffs tend to skyrocket during Ramadan, causing economic
pressures to increase. The students, who are usually the
first to head out into the streets when frustrations mount,
do not return to school until November, which means that they
have time on their hands. END COMMENT.