Thursday, November 13, 2008

[Guinean news] Social tension rises in Conakry, mining towns

Several days last week, youths took to the street in Conakry to protest high gas prices. The protesters burnt tires and threw stones. Soldiers shot at demonstrators, killing at least one person, according to The New York Times; human rights' groups fear the toll may be much higher. The government severely restricted freedom of movement in the capital.

The IRIN news service ran a story on how Guineans living in mining towns are increasingly taking to the streets to protest the unavailability of basic services to ordinary people.

Last week, people in Boké protested lack of access to water and electricity, both of which are readily available to the city's CBG bauxite mining company. Several other mining communities have faced similar protests.

Boké residents poured into the streets and blocked the railway by which [CBG] transports materials for export. The people of Boké the week before had threatened to block operations if they did not receive access to water and electricity. "The military forces who came from Conakry did not hesitate at all when they confronted the demonstrators," the dead man’s aunt, Ansoumane Diawara, told IRIN. "They were shooting everywhere. My nephew was struck down by a stray bullet."

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