November 14, 2019 / 8:12 PM / 22 days ago

Demonstrator dies in protests against Guinea president

CONAKRY (Reuters) - A young demonstrator was killed in Guinea on Thursday during protests against President Alpha Conde’s perceived attempt to extend his mandate, the security minister told Reuters.

At least fourteen people have now died since demonstrations erupted in the West African country last month against changes to the constitution that many fear could allow Conde to seek a third term.

Rights groups and political opponents have denounced a heavy-handed crackdown by the police including opening fire on protesters, claims that Reuters has been unable to independently verify and that security forces deny.

Thousands took to the streets of the capital Conakry on Thursday. Images caught on camera showed a bus in flames and protesters clashing with police, who broke up the demonstrations with tear gas.

The circumstances of the death was not immediately clear. Security minister Damantang Albert Camara said an investigation was underway.

The 81-year-old Conde, whose second and final five-year term expires next year, has refused to rule out running again and asked his government last month to look into drafting a new constitution.

His opponents fear that could be used as a reset button on his presidency, allowing him to run again like other African leaders who have amended or changed constitutions in recent years to stay in power.

Writing by Edward McAllister; Editing by Giles Elgood

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