A man managed to secretly film police vandalising cars during a protest against the results of a local election in the Guinean capital Conakry. The man behind the camera (and the door) told the Observers how he managed to catch these officers breaking the law.
The video, which is about a minute long, looks like a sequence from an action movie – James Bond looking through his visor. The men caught on camera were a group of unscrupulous police officers destroying a parked car during a protest held in Conakry, Guinea on February 12.
"The police were trying to make it look like the protesters had done it"
On that day, there was chaos across the Guinean capital. At least two people died in widespread demonstrations organised to protest the contested results of local elections held on February 4. On the same day, teachers went on strike.
Billo Gandal Barry is a resident of the Bambeto neighbourhood, which is known to support the opposition. He participated in one of the protests, which got out of hand. When police fired tear gas at the demonstrators, he and a few other people took refuge in a house.
I peeked through the keyhole to make sure that the police weren’t coming towards us. That’s when I saw that they were breaking car windows for no reason!
I started to film, hoping to capture something through the keyhole. I took this risk so that I could contribute to the fight against the injustice and impunity that prevail in this country.
"I told the owners of the cars, but they are reluctant to file charges”
For me, it was obvious that the police were trying to make it look like the protesters had smashed up people’s cars. They want people to think that the residents of this neighbourhood are violent… even though they were the ones doing the damaging!
[Editor’s note: In the past few years, protests in this neighbourhood have regularly morphed into riots. On February 19, for example, a gendarme was killed after he was hit by a projectile.]
I told the owners of these cars that I had proof that the police damaged their vehicles. Even so, they are reluctant to file complaints because they don’t think it will do any good.”
Barry took a photo of this car after police broke its windows and cracked the windshield.
FRANCE 24 contacted the national gendarmerie's spokesman who did not question the veracity of the video, but said, "It could be old." However, FRANCE 24 confirmed that the video was indeed filmed on February 12. The spokesman did not wish to comment further.
At least seven people have died in violence since local elections on February 4. The election results have not yet been announced.