Conakry, Guinea - Opposition and government supporters clashed in the Guinean capital, Conakry, on Monday as opposition supporters demonstrated to demand free and fair elections.
The march, which was banned but later allowed to go ahead, saw opposition supporters clashing with spare part sellers, who are close to the government.
Although the opposition called the demonstration 'a peaceful march' the rival groups threw stones at each other near the big market in Madina, a suburb of Conakry, thus forcing the minister of Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Khalifa Gassama Diaby, who tried to ease tension, to seek shelter.
There was a huge presence of security officers in the streets to maintain law and order as the two main opposition parties who called for the demonstration - Alliance for Democracy and Progress (ADP) and the Club of Republicans (CDR) - marched.
The ADP and CDR are demanding free and fair election, registration of Guineans living abroad to vote in the parliamentary elections due on 12 May and the cancellation of the contract linking the government and the South African group, Waymark, to prepare the voters' rolls.
Despite stringent security measures, several shops in Madina particularly, which were often attacked during demonstrations, were closed. The demonstration began at the Conakry-Gbessia international airport, 15 km from the centre of the city.
Traffic was smooth on the main streets of the city but the huge presence of the security forces did not prevent demonstrators from setting up barricades in areas of the big suburbs, particularly Coza, Bambéto, Hamdallaye, strongholds of the Union of Guinean Democratic Forces (UFDG) of Cellou Dalein Diallo.
According a government statement 4,000 security forces, including 1,500 policemen and 2,500 gendarmes, who were deployed, reported minor incidents.
The statement said inhabitants from several localities outside the capital in High Guinea particularly and Forest Guinea in the south, stayed at home or attended to their businesses.