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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - CONAKRY - Tens of thousands of Guineans took to the streets on Monday in new anti-government protests, with violence between rival groups injuring at least 12 people in the east.
Crowds marched from the suburbs of the capital Conakry to the city center in one of the biggest protests, and witnesses told AFP that demonstrators came out in cities including Labe, Pita, Dalaba, Mamou and Boke.
The West African country has been hit by rolling protests since mid-October over concerns President Alpha Conde plans to reform the constitution to attempt to stay in office for a third term.
About 20 people and one gendarme have died since the protests began, according to an AFP tally.
The protests again turned violent on Monday in the Conde stronghold of Kankan in the east -- the president's supporters attacking protesters and leaving at least 12 wounded, according to medical and security officials.
Meanwhile, protesters in Conakry came out dressed in red -- the color of the opposition -- carrying placards reading "No to a new constitution" and "No to a third mandate for Alpha Conde".
Former prime ministers Cellou Dalein Diallo and Sidya Toure were among the crowds in Conakry.
Conde, who announced a draft constitution last month, visited the western city of Kindia on Monday, where the population gave him a "warm welcome", he said on Twitter.
An opposition march in the city was postponed after the intervention of local and religious officials to avoid clashes, according to sources.
"I promise you that what you could not have, your children will have. Guinea will advance," 81-year-old Conde told his supporters, who carried signs claiming a new constitution would ensure the "development of Guinea".
In his New Year wishes, Conde, who was elected in 2010 and reelected in 2015, reiterated his plan to organize legislative elections on February 16, despite calls for a boycott by the opposition.
Abdourahmane Sanoh, the coordinator of National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), an alliance of opposition groups behind the protests, said there were plans to increase the number of rallies from January 13.
"I ask that the whole Guinean people be ready from January 13," he said. -AFP
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