Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/471/2010
Guinea general strike:
Workers brave regime's bullets
OVER 40 people have been killed by security forces since the trade unions launched a general strike on 11 January in the west African country of Guinea.
Some 30,000 workers demonstrated in Conakry on 22 January in support of the strike and an end to the rule of president Lansana Conté. Thousands more marched in regional towns. Police blocking the path of the marchers in Conakry gunned down over 20 demonstrators and injured a further 100.
However, the pressure of the general strike has prompted the President to release several trade union leaders who had been arrested and to investigate the shootings, in an attempt to negotiate an end to the strike.
The action - the third general strike in a year - is in protest at rising cost of living, unemployment, government corruption, and the reneging of the regime on agreements previously reached after the last strike.
One Conakry resident summed up the strikers' mood, saying: "There is bauxite, gold, diamonds in this country but we see nothing of it."
Conté has been in power for over 22 years following a coup in 1984. In addition to the suffering of workers and the poor, Conté has incensed the population by releasing from prison a leading figure jailed last year for embezzlement.
His regime controls most of the news media. Text messages on the state-owned network Sotelgui are being blocked to prevent trade unionists' communications.
The government has offered a few concessions to get the strike called off but these have been rejected by the trade unions.
In The Socialist 25 January 2007:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis