(Corrects to remove reference to live ammunition)
* Dozens wounded in running clashes
* Demonstrators say election preparations flawed
* Guinea is world's top bauxite supplier
By Saliou Samb
CONAKRY, Feb 27 Guinea security forces fired
teargas at thousands of rock-throwing anti-government protesters
in the seaside capital Conakry on Wednesday in clashes that
wounded more than two dozen people, sources said.
The violence in the West African state is a result of
soaring tensions ahead of a parliamentary election the
opposition says is being rigged by the administration of
President Alpha Conde.
"We don't know how it started, but the security forces
charged the crowd and fired teargas," said Ousmane Camara, a
Conakry resident at the protest in the city's Hamdallaye
neighbourhood, an opposition stronghold.
A security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity
that 16 police and gendarmes had been admitted to hospital with
wounds after the initial clashes. Sources said injuries among
the protesters were likely higher.
It was unclear if there were any dead, and witnesses said
demonstrations were ongoing.
Guinea's opposition coalition had called for widespread
protests in Conakry after announcing last week it would boycott
preparations for long-delayed legislative polls, saying the run
up to the vote was flawed.
The election set for May 12 is intended to be the last step
in Guinea's transition to civilian rule after two years under a
violent army junta following the death of long-time leader
Lansana Conte in 2008.
President Alpha Conde won a 2010 presidential election in
the world's top supplier of bauxite, the raw material in
aluminium, but delays in the legislative vote have deepened a
political deadlock and led to intermittent violence.
The opposition says the elections commission chose the poll
date unilaterally and that two companies contracted to update
voter rolls have skewed the lists in Conde's favour. They also
want Guineans living abroad to be allowed to vote.
Thousands of people participated in peaceful protests across
Guinea last week in support of opposition demands. The
parliamentary poll was originally due to be held in 2011 but has
already been delayed four times.
Conde has promised prosperity to the former French colony's
10 million people, whose economy produces only about $1.50 per
person per day despite a wealth of natural resources, including
the world's largest untapped iron ore deposit.
The European Union, a major donor, warned in November that
it needed a credible and detailed timeline for the election to
unblock about 174 million euros ($229 million) in aid.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Jon Hemming)