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Communities Come Back to Life After End of Deadly Strike in Guinea

For the first time in almost three weeks, Guineans are returning to work after a sometimes violent work stoppage that paralyzed commerce and left dozens dead. Some protesters had vowed to continue the strike because they said the deal union leaders negotiated with the government Saturday was not good enough. Despite this dissent, the streets were calm on Monday. Phuong Tran reports from VOA's West Africa bureau in Dakar.

Local journalist Maseco Conde said that crowds filled the streets in the commercial district of Conakry once again after the end of the crippling nationwide strike.

He said banks and businesses were open, and that life was returning to the pace it was before the work stoppage. He said people were waiting in lines at markets, stores and banks.

Journalist Conde said there were no signs of protest, despite threats some youths had made to continue demonstrating because they want Mr. Conte to leave government, and for fuel and rice prices to come down even more.

Union leaders announced late Saturday a strike-ending deal that will cap the price of staple goods, pay lost wages for strikers, try the president's two allies who face embezzlement charges, and commemorate the most deadly day of the strike, January 22, when security forces killed almost 50 protesters.

The deal also met the unions' main demand that the president appoint a new prime minister with power to hire and dismiss government officials. Union leaders signed the deal on the condition the new minister be a civilian, who is not associated with corruption charges.

Many hope that years of corrupt governance, economic suffering and social chaos will end with a change in leadership, which should come within days according to the agreement.

Guinea has not had a prime minister since Mr. Conte dismissed the previous one nine months ago, who was the third to hold the position within one year.

Union leaders have said they are ready to call another strike if the government does not honor the deal.