The decision made by Guinea's transitional authorities to ban public demonstrations in public spaces for the duration of the transitional period seeks to undermine further the right to protest and prevent Guineans from expressing their views about issues affecting them.
On 13 May 2022, the National Committee for the Rally for Development (Comité National du Rassemblement pour le Développement – CNRD) imposed a blanket ban on all demonstrations in public spaces that undermine social peace 36 months until the start of the election campaign period. The ban was imposed after the CNRD unilaterally announced its plans to delay the transition period by 36 months - but did not provide details on when the transition will officially begin.
"The military junta is fully aware that as formal mechanisms used by Guineans to raise concerns over issues affecting them are restricted or closed, many will rely on peaceful protests to express their views about the transition and the future they want for Guinea. The ban should be lifted immediately, and Guineans should be allowed to hold protests when they want to in line with Guinea's regional and international human rights obligations", said David Code, Advocacy and Campaigns Lead, CIVICUS.
The Guidelines on freedom of association and assembly in Africa guarantee the right to protest and caution that any blanket application of restrictions can only be permitted as a last resort and should be done in line with the principle of proportionality. The current ban imposed by the junta has been criticised by civil society groups and the political opposition as it is not proportionate, and it will be used to prevent civil society groups from raising concerns about the transition and the actions of the junta.
In response to the ban, the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) - a coalition of civil society groups, trade unions and the political opposition that has been coordinating protests since 2019 against amendments to the Constitution, called on the junta to reverse its decision to ban protests and agree on a more realistic timeline for the transition that will lead to elections.
In September 2021, Guinea's special forces under Mamady Doumbouya detained President Alpha Condé, suspended the Constitution and dissolved the government and several state institutions. The military junta established the Comité National du Rassemblement et du Développement (CNRD) as the transitional authority and outlined a roadmap to civilian rule in its National Transitional Charter. The coup happened less than a year after former President Alpha Condé won controversial presidential elections following a referendum that amended the Constitution in March 2020. In the aftermath of the coup, members of the military's special forces raided the media outlet "Djoma Media" and injured two people as they forced their way in. Several independent media platforms have expressed concerns about facing restrictions in covering key events, including consultations and installing some key figures in the transition.