Thirteen journalists in Guinea were briefly detained after being arrested during a planned protest in Conakry. The protesters were demonstrating against the blocking of the news website “Guinée Matin”. The incident further deteriorated the already strained relationship between transitional authorities and press organizations in the country.
Initially, it was meant to be a peaceful march starting from the autonomous port roundabout. “A substantial contingent of police and gendarmerie ordered us to disperse,” explained Abdoul Latif Diallo, the publisher of “Dépêche Guinée,” who had attended the gathering organized by the press union. However, the security forces rapidly dispersed the assembly, deploying a significant presence in the city center.
Abdoul Latif Diallo recounted, “They pushed us back, some were trampled, and others were struck.” Some agents used tear gas, brandishing their grenade launchers.
By midday, press advocacy organizations reacted. The union made a declaration at the labor exchange. “Thirteen journalist unionists were apprehended. The SPPG (Guinea’s Professional Press Union) vehemently condemns this brutal and inhumane arrest and draws the national and international community’s attention to the serious violation of press freedom in Guinea, a freedom that is nonetheless enshrined in the transition charter,” stated the SPPG.
The journalists were released shortly after 5 PM, with their trial scheduled for the following week, facing charges of illegal assembly.