A civil society coalition that wanted to protest peacefully against what it describes as the high cost of living and poor governance in the country was barred from organising the march by the municipal authorities in Guinea’s capital, Conakry.
Force Sociale de la Guinee, a coalition of civil society organisations, made up of Les Forces Vives, Organisations de la Société Civile and Citoyens Engagés, planned to organise a peaceful march on January 22, 2019. However, the Mayor of Dixin municipality prohibited the march, citing a decree issued six month ago by the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation.
It will be recalled that among reasons cited for the said decree, which was issued on July 23, 2018, was the fact that people in the Muslim-majority country were preparing to go on pilgrimage to Mecca, a solemn occasion that should not be disturbed.
The organisers of the banned march have decided to challenge the prohibition in court. They argue that the blanket ban on demonstrations violates their constitutional right to peaceful assembly. On January 28, 2019, they filed a petition before a magistrates’ court in Kaloum, Conakry to challenge the six-month-old ministerial decree.
Guinea has a history of violent crackdowns on peaceful protests. In the course of 2018, the country experienced many demonstrations that were violently suppressed by security forces, with at least four persons killed.
MFWA finds the legal move of the coalition as a right step in the direction of guarantying the right of free and peaceful assembly enshrined in the country constitution and several protocol and treaties that the country has ratified.