Strike grips Guinea's capital with deadlock over teaching

2018-10-29 20:06
Guinea (iStock)

Guinea (iStock)

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A "dead city" strike call by the opposition in Guinea largely emptied the streets of the capital Conakry on Monday, with no solution in sight to a pay dispute in the education sector.

Streets were deserted in some parts of the West African city, while traffic was jammed in other areas where all drivers were being diverted, an AFP correspondent saw.

Troops and police were placed on alert but few were deployed on the streets. Instead they were gathered in strength in central police stations and gendarmerie barracks, the correspondent said.

Youths burned tyres early in the day along a main Conakry thoroughfare, Le Prince street, but rain soon put out the fires and dampened the ardour of would-be demonstrators.

The political opposition called for the strike in protest against what it considers a violation by the authorities of an agreement reached in August over the appointment of local government officials elected in a hotly disputed vote on February 4.

Rivals of President Alpha Conde have also called for a march and rally in Conakry on Tuesday, a week after a banned demonstration during which opposition leader Cellou Dalein Diallo alleged that police tried to assassinate him.

Also last Tuesday, an 18-year-old was killed in street clashes and his family blamed police, who denied both shooting allegations.

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On Monday morning, hundreds of schoolchildren in Siguiri, a town in the far north of the country, took to the streets to call for the return of their teachers, who began "an unlimited strike" on October 3 to press demands for a raise in minimum pay, according to local media.

The teachers decided to take tougher action after the government announced that it would not pay October wages for the strikers, said Aboubabar Soumah, general secretary of the powerful Free Union of Teachers and Researchers of Guinea (SLECG).

"From now on, it's not the worker who gets paid, but the work," Conde warned on state media.

"Teachers will stay at home until the end of the head of state's second mandate in 2020," the SLECG said in response.

Read more on:    guinea  |  west africa

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