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Guinea police, protesters clash in rallies against Conde's third term

Opponents of Guinean President Alpha Conde's suspected plans to stay in office for a third term rally in the streets of the capital Conakry in January 2020 (AFP Photo/CELLOU BINANI)

Conakry (AFP) - Guinea police fired tear gas on Tuesday in clashes with opposition demonstrators who hurled stones and blocked streets in Conakry and other cities in new protests over fears President Alpha Conde will run for a third term.

Hundreds of thousands have been protesting in the West Africa state since mid-October over concerns that Conde, 81, intends to use constitutional reforms to stay in office.

At least 23 civilians and one gendarme have been killed since the protests began, but last week organisers urged nationwide open-ended demonstrations. Three people were killed last week in clashes.

Violence erupted again in several districts of Conakry on Tuesday as groups of young protests lobbed rocks at police who responded with tear gas, an AFP correspondent said.

Security forces also clashed with protesters who erected barricades in the central town of Dinguiraye, and in the southeast in Nzerekore, near the border with Ivory Coast and Liberia, security forces and residents said.

Local media and a resident reported that a rail line used to transport bauxite, an important source of state income, had been attacked in Boke, also in the north.

Boke governor, General Siba Lohalamou, denied the train was blocked and said it was a temporary stoppage as a precaution.

Activity also slowed in other cities, residents said.

An alliance of opposition parties, unions and civic groups, the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution or FNDC by its French initials, has repeatedly bought thousands of Guineans to the streets.

Conde, who was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2015, has neither confirmed nor denied the claim that he put forward a draft constitution last month intending to keep himself in office for a third term.