In Guinea, COVID-19 roadblocks result in bloody protests

Protesters often face a disproportionately violent, deadly response

Guinea faces social violence exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Already a fragile state, COVID-19 complicated matters with its first appearance in March 2020. By June 8, 4,117 people had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a population of 12 million.

To counter the pandemic, Guinean authorities established checkpoints between the capital city of Conakry, and the neighboring cities of Coyah and Dubréka, effectively blocking the capital off from the rest of the country.

Though Coyah and Dubréka are administratively autonomous, they also constitute the suburbs of the capital and much of the population commutes to and from the cities on a daily basis. President Alpha Condé referred to Greater Conakry in his speech on public television on May 15.

Tensions mounted following the announcements on March 27 and 30, which included a communication error in the decision to isolate Conakry. In fact, it was not made explicit that the cities of Coyah and Dubréka were considered as part of the capital.

Only in his speech on May 15 did the president clarify that the curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. included these cities, as well.

On May 12, residents of Coyah and Dubréka revolted upon discovering barricades suddenly blocking the way to their daily activities.

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