Mamadou Djiwo Bah of the LoupeGuinee news website and Alhassane Fofana of the MosaiqueGuinee news website were covering a protest organized by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) against a third term for President Alpha Condé when police advanced on the protesters firing massive amounts of teargas.
Bah lost consciousness as a result of the teargas and, after she fell to the ground, other demonstrators trampled on her in the scramble to flee the advancing police and the teargas.
Fofana told RSF that he also tried to flee the police advance but was unable to run because he was “almost suffocated by the teargas” and fell when a policeman reached him. “He hit me in the face and then struck me violently in the thigh. Other policemen joined in and they beat me with their batons.”
After taking Fofana’s phone, the police left him lying unconscious on the ground. A knife had been used to deliver the blow to his thigh. He had been easily identifiable as a journalist because he was wearing a vest with the word “Press."
“Such violence against clearly identified journalists is unacceptable,” said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF’s West Africa office. “The police must guarantee the safety of journalists and not obstruct them or attack them when they are doing their work. Impartial investigations must be carried out, and those responsible for these attacks must be identified and punished in accordance with the law.”
Journalists are often the victims of attacks and violence during political demonstrations in Guinea, but those responsible are rarely punished.
Guinea is ranked 107th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.