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Guinea Trade Unions Begin Two-Day Strike

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  • Attorney Thierno Balde is the president of the Research Institute on Democracy and Rule of Law spoke with Clottey

Guinea's trade unions are calling for a two day nationwide strike beginning Monday to mourn the killing of unarmed opposition protesters. 

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Some concerned Guineans say the strike could anger the military junta, which is blamed for the killings. 

More than 150 protesters were killed on September 28 when soldiers shot dead opponents protesting the possible candidacy of junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in next year's general election.

Monday's strike coincides with ongoing discussions between the junta and the opposition in Nigeria's capital Abuja. 

The talks, mediated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), are aimed at resolving Guinea's political impasse. 

Attorney Thierno Balde, president of the Research Institute on Democracy and Rule of Law said that all is set for Monday's strike action.

"The strike has been organized by the union in both the private and the public sector. They are asking the population to stay home and not go to work to pray for the people who have been killed on the 28th of September," Balde said.

He said the military junta has yet to comment on the strike action.

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"So far, they haven't made any comment. I think if it doesn't become violent it will be fine, but so far I haven't heard any comment from them," he said.

Balde said there are reasons to believe people do not want a repeat of the September massacre.

"After what has happened on September 28, no one wants really to have further violence and I think it is in the interest of everyone to calm things down," Balde said.

He expressed doubt the junta would react violently to the strike.

"I think at this stage the military wouldn't take action against the population at least for these two days." He said.

Balde said the strike will go on.

"So far, all the reactions which we are getting (have) been really positive. I haven't heard anyone who is against the idea, and once again, the call is for all the union (workers) in Guinea," Balde said.

He said the strike is also to mourn the dead.

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"All of the leaders of the union, they got together and decided to call for these two days mourning, and it is something which will help people to realize exactly what has happened and pray that these kinds of things not happen again in Guinea," he said.

Balde said negotiations are ongoing to calm down tensions.

"Right now, the political leaders are in Abuja. They are talking to ECOWAS to find out exactly what statement they are going to make in the coming days and week," Balde said.

He said Guinea's youth is also calling for a five day hunger strike aimed at encouraging an agreement between all parties to resolve Guinea's crisis.            

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