One Dead In Guinea Bissau Rally

Channels Television  
Updated October 26, 2019


An opposition supporter died Saturday as thousands clashed with police in an unauthorised rally in Guinée-Bissau, hospital sources and the victim’s family said.

Protesters staged the rally to demand a delay to a November 24 presidential election in order to allow an overhaul of the electoral register to limit potential voter fraud.

Demba Balde, 48, was in the offices of the opposition Party for Social Renovation (PRS), when “a cordon of police armed with clubs and grenade launchers prevented us from going out to join our friends in the street,” the victim’s brother Alimo Balde told AFP.

“There were scuffles and Demba was arrested by four police officers who beat him and sprayed him with (tear) gas. He fell, bloodied, and was struggling to breathe. We tried to bring him round but sadly he passed away before arrival at the hospital,” Alimo Balde said.

Several other people were injured when police fired tear gas to disperse marchers, an AFP correspondent reported.

The impoverished West African state’s Supreme Court said two weeks ago it had approved 12 candidates to contest the poll, including incumbent Jose Mario Vaz, who intends to stand again as an independent candidate.

Several candidates saw the court reject their bid to stand rejected but the international community has stated the electoral calendar should be respected.

Vaz, 62, became president in 2014 after elections billed as a new start for a country that had known only coups and turmoil since the end of Portuguese rule in 1974.