Conakry – Twenty-nine Guinean minors have been arrested and charged with unlawful assembly and the destruction of property following banned demonstrations that left five dead last week, Conakry children’s court said.
They have been placed in pre-trial detention, it added.
Dozens of people were arrested after defying a protest ban on Thursday and Friday, demonstrating against Guinea’s junta and its handling of plans to return to democracy.
Among them were 34 minors, including five under the age of 13, Conakry children’s court special prosecutor Mohamed Diawara said in a press release Tuesday.
The prosecution has not launched criminal proceedings against those younger than 13, in accordance with Guinea’s Children’s Code.
But Diawara’s office is opening a judicial investigation into the 29 others.
His office asked parents “to assume their parental responsibility during periods of demonstrations”.
On Sunday, the United Nations, the regional bloc ECOWAS, the European Union, the United States and France issued a joint statement reminding “all parties of the obligation to protect minors”.
Following last week’s demonstrations, on Tuesday evening 17 adults were acquitted by a court in Dixinn, a suburb of Conakry. They were found not guilty of charges including unlawful assembly, disturbing public order, the destruction of public and private property, looting and arson.
Dozens of others are still detained. They include Oumar Sylla, alias Fonike Mangue, and Ibrahima Diallo, who are both leaders of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC), a coalition of parties, unions and civil society groups that organised the demonstrations.
They also include Saikou Yaya Barry, the executive secretary of the Union of Republican Forces (UFR) political party.
The protests left “five dead… numerous civilian and military injuries and significant material damage”, according to a statement from former public prosecutor Alphonse Charles Wright, who was named minister of justice in early July.
A military-dominated government headed by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has led Guinea since September 2021, when a putsch toppled former president Alpha Conde.