Voters clash in Guinea's contentious constitutional referendum held despite coronavirus outbreakRecord ID: 1465277
- Title: Voters clash in Guinea's contentious constitutional referendum held despite coronavirus outbreak
- Date: 22nd March 2020
- Summary: SAMATRA, SUBURB OF CONAKRY, GUINEA (MARCH 22, 2020) (REUTERS) YOUTHS, WHO CAME TO VOTE AT A NEARBY POLLING STATION, CHASING A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO CAME TO STOP THEM, THROWING STONES AND RUNNING UP THE HILL / POLICE VAN DRIVING TOWARDS ANTI-ELECTION YOUTHS WHO ARE THROWING STONES YOUTHS RUNNING AND THROWING STONES LOCAL YOUTHS RUNNING TO STOP OPPONENTS FROM COMING TO THE POLLING STATION GROUP OF VOTERS SURROUNDING OPPONENT AND HITTING HIM ANGRY VOTER SAYING (French) 'We are going to vote!' AND PRO-REFERENDUM GROUP THROWING STONES AT A LOCAL STORE HELD BY KNOWN OPPONENTS TO THE REFERENDUM / OTHERS COME AND TELL THEM TO STOP (SOUNDBITE) (Susu) UNIDENTIFIED PRO-ELECTION VOTER HOLDING STICK AND STONES SAYING: "They don't want to vote and are trying to stop us from voting, but we are going to vote." BANGALY CAMARA, LOCAL RESIDENT WHO CAME TO VOTE, TRYING TO CALM THINGS DOWN (SOUNDBITE) (French) BANGALY CAMARA, LOCAL RESIDENT WHO CAME TO VOTE, SAYING: "We are in Samatra, people are going to the polling stations, they were going there peacefully when youths from Kabgelin and T7 (neighbourhoods) came invaded us with stones. We mobilised the youth of Samatra and responded. That is what you witnessed." EXTERIOR POLLING STATION POSTER SHOWING HOW TO VOTE VOTER COMING OUT OF POLLING BOOTH AND PUTTING HER VOTE IN THE BALLOT BOX/ NONE OF THE POLLING STAFF ARE WEARING MASKS TO PROTECT AGAINST CORONAVIRUS SPREADING LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR THE LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS BALLOT READING 'NO' FOR THE REFERENDUM BALLOT READING 'YES' VOTER COMING TO PICK UP THE BALLOTS AND GOING TO THE VOTING BOOTH WOMAN CARRYING A BABY HAVING HER FINGERPRINT TAKEN AFTER VOTING / POLLING STAFF NOT WEARING GLOVES OR MASKS/ T-SHIRT READS CENI (NATIONAL INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION) CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPER POLLING STAFF HUDDLED OVER A TABLE WITH LISTS ELECTORAL LISTS VOTER SIGNING ON ELECTORAL LIST (SOUNDBITE) (French) MOHAMED TOURNE, RESIDENT WHO VOTED, SAYING: "We must bring peace to Guinea. We are going to vote calmly and in peace" (SOUNDBITE) (French) OUMAR TRAORE, RESIDENT WHO VOTED, SAYING: "In the morning, there was stone throwing but the youths in the neighbourhood came out, some of them were neutralised, then we came and voted, you can see the ink on my finger, and people are coming little by little. But there is voting. Towards the evening people will come out massively to vote." PEOPLE COMING TO VOTE, SMOKE FROM BURNING TYRES AT A BARRICADE IN THE DISTANCE PEOPLE WALKING AFTER HAVING VOTED
- Keywords: COVID-19 Referendum clashes contentious electoral lists coronavirus legislative election stone throwing
- Reuters ID: LVA001C64UPFR
- Location: SAMATRA, SUBURB OF CONAKRY, GUINEA
- City: SAMATRA, SUBURB OF CONAKRY, GUINEA
- Country: Guinea
- Duration: 00:03:39
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Story Text: Clashes broke out between youths opposed to Guinea's referendum and those who had come to vote at a polling station in the Conakry suburb of Samatra on Sunday (March 22).
The twin referendum and legislative election poll was maintained despite the outbreak of coronavirus which is gaining pace in Sub Saharan Africa.
The opposition has boycotted the referendum because they believe the 81-year old President Alpha Conde will use it to seek a third mandate. His mandate expires in December.
Opposition supporters heeding a call to disrupt the referendum and simultaneous legislative election attacked several polling stations in the capital Conakry, delaying the start of voting in some districts.
Security forces were quick to contain the pockets of unrest and there was no immediate report of significant casualties.
The opposition boycott all but ensures the new basic law will be approved when results are announced in the coming days, despite the risk it could trigger wider unrest that would, along with coronavirus, threaten Guinea's mining economy.
With the first two cases of the COVID-19 disease recorded in the country, some polling stations required voters to wash their hands before casting their ballot, and radio stations reminded citizens to keep their distance from one another.
At some polling stations, a large turn-out meant crowds were squeezed in line to vote, according to a Reuters witness. Few people wore masks.
NetBlocks internet observatory said social media was blocked on the eve of the election. "Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are blocked while WhatApp servers have been partially restricted. The restrictions continue as of 3:00 p.m. on 22 March, election day, significantly limiting global visibility into events as they take place." their website said.
(Production: Souleymane Camara, Yvonne Bell)
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