Last week the opposition parties organized a protest over some aspects of the organization of Guinea’s upcoming legislative elections they don’t like. To express their displeasure, they announced a peaceful protest march on Wednesday and for Thursday a “ville morte”, a day when businesses and transportation shut down and everyone stays home. That was the plan anyway.

What actually happened was a not-so-peaceful march on Wednesday and scattered pockets of violence every day since then. Rock throwing, beatings, knifings, setting shops on fire, general hooliganism. One of our local staff got attacked on the way home from work on Thursday. A couple of guys jumped him, roughed him up pretty bad and stole a good sum of money from him. The security forces haven’t entirely kept their hands clean either, reportedly opening fire. I’m pretty sure this isn’t really about election systems and overseas voting anymore.

I’m fine, Mom. We’ve all been sticking close to home, and things have been pretty quiet around where I live. It’s just concerning. Guinea has been pretty calm, pretty stable, the whole time I’ve been here. Sure, there have been occasional blips on the radar, but nothing quite at this level. I’d hate to see all of that peace and progress get thrown away now.