At least 58 people have been killed in Guinea, after troops opened fire on an opposition rally, reports say. (photo, from bbc.co.uk)
According to a BBC correspondent, troops fired into protesters as they gathered in a stadium in the capital, Conakry.
The rally gathered about 50,000 people. It was against Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, who seized power in the West African nation in a bloodless coup last year.
Indications that Capt Camara is to reverse a pledge not to run in a presidential vote planned for January, triggered the gathering.
At least two opposition leaders have been arrested, reports say.
According to doctors, at least 58 bodies have been brought to hospital, many with bullet wounds.
A statement strongly condemning the “violent repression” of opposition demonstrators has been issued by France.
The demonstrators have now been dispersed, says BBC’s Alhassan Sillah, but the military is out in force mounting checkpoints on many roads.
He adds that some opposition leaders appear to have been arrested and journalists have been targeted by the security forces.
A year ago, hours after the death of president Lansana Conte, who had ruled for more than two decades, Capt Camara (photo, from bbc.co.uk) staged a coup.
Tough the military takeover had some popular support at its beginning, in recent weeks there have been several anti-government protests.
Hints from Capt Camara that he may stand for president in January appear to have sparked the protests.
In Conakry, placards reading “No to Dadis” and “Down with the army in power” were carried by demonstrators who gathered outside the capital’s largest stadium, said the AFP news agency.
But the demonstration had already been banned and the stadium was closed and guarded by large numbers of police.
It was followed by clashes between police and demonstrators. Officers charged the crowds and fired live ammunition.
“This is only the beginning of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations we can expect in the next few months,” Guinea expert Gilles Yabi told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme.
He added that should Capt Camara stand for president, it would be a violation of the tacit agreement between military and civil forces which has kept him in power.
It would also mark a perpetuation of the kind of rule that Guinea has seen for the past decade, and that the military had promised to sweep away.
Eccentric displays of power have characterised Capt Camara’s rule, like forcing members of the elite presidential guard to beg for forgiveness on national TV after they roughed up a veteran officer.
Former aides and officials have been accused of corruption and links to the drugs trade, including the son of former President Lansana Conte, who was shown confessing on TV to smuggling cocaine.