Guinea’s opposition has called for renewed protests over the country’s disputed election timetable in a show of defiance after days of deadly clashes between activists and security forces.
The coalition of main opposition parties issued a statement late on Saturday saying it was planning “another peaceful march” in Conakry on Thursday followed by a nationwide demonstration next week.
The call for renewed protests follows two weeks of clashes between anti-government activists and security services which have left several people dead and dozens wounded in the country’s largest towns and cities.
A delegation of the European Union in Conakry called for an end to the bloodshed which it said was “a very worrying signal at a time when all political actors should be working together to eradicate Ebola”.
In a statement on Saturday, the delegation called on both sides to “exercise the utmost restraint in their statements and political actions and resume political dialogue without delay”.
It urged the government and opposition to “work constructively in order to reach a consensual solution for organising elections and preserving peace in the country”.
Guinea’s opposition boycotted parliament in March in protest over the timetable for the presidential ballot, accusing President Alpha Conde of using the Ebola epidemic as an excuse to postpone voting.
The opposition had called for the local elections – originally planned for the beginning of 2014 – to be held before this year’s October presidential vote, but they are not due to take place until March 2016.
Conde has insisted the country’s constitution rules out the kind of changes to the election timetable sought by opposition supporters.
Around 11 000 people have died of Ebola, almost all in west Africa, since it emerged in Guinea in December 2013.
The last election in Guinea – September 2013’s parliamentary vote – was delayed by almost three years, stoking deadly ethnic tensions that have dogged the country’s politics since independence.
One of the poorest countries in the region despite vast potential for mineral exploitation, Guinea has been run by a succession of autocratic rulers after gaining independence from France in 1958