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Thousands Line Streets to Hail Guinea Coup Leader

Thousands of people have lined the streets of Guinea's capital to greet the newly announced leader of this week's military coup.

Captain Moussa Dadis Camara waved at the crowds Wednesday as a convoy of several hundred pro-coup soldiers paraded through the streets of Conakry. The crowd cheered him on, chanting "Long live the new leader."

In a radio address earlier, Camara said he will lead a 32-member interim administration called the National Council for Democracy and Development, CNDD, which will include six civilians. He said soldiers have no plans to remain in power, adding that elections will be held by the end of 2010.

Soldiers declared a nighttime curfew, but later delayed it until Friday, saying they wanted to allow Christians to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

The unrest follows the death of Guinea's longtime President Lansana Conte on Monday.

The prime minister, army chief and speaker of the National Assembly have asserted that the civilian government is still in power. However, a journalist in Conakry tells VOA's French to Africa service that no one has tried to stop the parading soldiers.

In Washington Wednesday, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood called for the restoration of civilian, democratic and constitutional rule in Guinea. He said the United States is examining its options, such as cutting off aid to the country.

The African Union Peace and Security Council also condemned the coup during an emergency meeting on the Guinea situation. Zambia's ambassador, Patrick Sinyinza, who holds the council's rotating chairmanship, expressed concern that recent events in Mauritania and now in Guinea could signal a return to the era of seizing power by force in Africa.

 

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