- At least one man was killed and several others injured yesterday when police fired bullets and tear gas to disperse a mob of young protesters who took to the streets in Guinea's capital Conakry, police said.
Demonstrators were angry after government slashed only 20 percent on fuel prices despite global oil prices having fallen by 50 percent since July.
Police officer Ousmane Diaoune said one police trainee was killed by accident by a stray bullet believed to have been fired by soldiers. He said 20 civilians and police were injured in the skirmishes, many by rocks thrown at them.
"The police officer, a new recruit, was watching clashes between authorities and protesters when he was hit by a bullet in the chest fired by soldiers," said a police official.
Residents of two neighborhoods in Conakry said police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of people who put large pieces of wood and burning tires on the streets.
Witnesses said victims were ferried by ambulance to two different clinics.
Tensions have simmered in Guinea for years as a desperate population expresses discontent over rule of country's dictator president Lansana Conte, who grabbed power in a 1984 coup.
The protests point to the general sense of resentment against a government that has for some time been ineffective, political obsevers have said.
Conakry Governor, Soriba Sorel Camara, an ally of Guinea's ageing president Lansana Conte, had on Sunday banned public gatherings to prevent violent protests.
The majority of Guinea's 10 million people live in poverty, even though the country is the world's largest producer of bauxite, raw material used to make aluminum.
Aware that global fuel prices have significantly dropped in recent months, Guineans had been wondering why they had not seen similar falls at petrol pumps and in price of fuel used for cooking.
Early last year more than 130 people were killed during a general strike, mostly shot dead by police and soldiers.
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