* Demonstrators angered by gov't handling of election
* Two injured by live rounds, witnesses say
* Guinea is world's top supplier of bauxite
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY, May 10 Guinea security forces used
guns, tear gas and truncheons on Thursday to scatter protesters
angered by the government's handling of upcoming parliamentary
elections, witnesses said.
Tensions have been rising in the West African state between
the administration of President Alpha Conde and the opposition,
which has accused him of attempting to consolidate power by
pre-rigging the polls in his favour.
Wrangling over how to organize the vote has caused the date
of the poll, initially meant to come on the heels of Conde's
election in late 2010, to backslide repeatedly.
"The CENI (independent national electoral commission) is
corrupt," said Kerfalla Sylla, one of the protesters in the
Others at the demonstration in the Bambeto neighbourhood of
Conakry shouted "Alpha Zero" and "Down with CENI".
Witnesses said more than two thousand people had joined the
protest - the first of several planned by the opposition -
before police charged it, and that at least two people were
injured with live rounds.
"I was running and I saw an old man struggling with a
soldier who was holding a weapon to him. I wanted to fight the
soldier and he shot me, the bullet hit me in the foot," Mamadou
Aliou Diallo, one of the protesters, told Reuters.
Another protester said he saw a man shot in the back during
the clashes, in which some demonstrators lobbed chunks of
concrete at the police.
A government spokesman said that the demonstration had been
authorized, but that police were forced to intervene after the
protesters became unruly. He gave no details on injuries.
"These were demonstrators who tried to leave the planned
route, and caused the reaction of the security forces," said
spokesman Julius Diale Dore by telephone.
Conde last month scrapped a July 8 election date to give
officials more time to fix problems in the voter registration
system, a move welcomed by opposition parties.
But opposition figures have also demanded that electoral
body officials resign and be replaced over concerns that they
are biased in Conde's favour.
The standoff has heightened tensions in the coup-plagued
nation and rekindled divisions between the country's two most
populous ethnicities, the Malinke and the Peul.
Conde, a Malinke, narrowly defeated Peul candidate Cellou
Dalein Diallo in the 2010 polls.
The European Union, which cut off aid programs in Guinea
after a 2008 coup, has said it will only resume full cooperation
in the country after the parliamentary polls.
Guinea is the world's top supplier of the aluminum ore
bauxite and its iron ore riches have drawn billions of dollars
in planned new investments from companies like Rio Tinto
and Vale .
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis)