January 18th 2007
For one week now, there has been a general strike here in Guinea. The city of Conakry is shut down, all stores and businesses have remained closed since Jan. 10th.
Monday Jan. 15th, union leaders and other opposition groups had announced the beginning of peaceful "civil disobedience" and called for a demonstration in front of the Palais du Peuple which was promptly banned by the Government. The would-be demonstraters tried to pull through with their plans by calling it a "prayer meeting" probably in the hope that the leader of a mostly muslim country would not try and keep his people from praying. Nevertheless, come Monday morning, strong army pressence around the bridge of Nov.8 which is the gateway to downtown Conakry made it impossible for the people from the suburbs to reach the Palais du Peuple which is located on the most narrow part of the peninsula of the city. Monday was also the day when first shots could be heard. Supposedly "only" rubber bullets and tear gas.
Tuesday, the union leaders handed a paper with their demands that included cheaper prices on rice and other basic groceries and the immediate instalation of a REAL GOVERNMENT that would be willing and capable of running the country in the peoples interest and not only try to enrich themselves in the most blatant and grotesque ways possible. The president Lansana Conté accepted the paper but proclaimed that he as a govenrment enmployee himself and therefore also was participating in the strike and would not read the paper before the strike was called over. Just the kind of humorous behaviour you would expect from a man with a five school year education who's sole success of 23 years in power are absurd amounts of wealth for his big (3 wifes) family and large circle of friendly leeches.
The union leaders called for a demonstration to take place yesterday, which was Wednesday Jan. 17th.
Military police opened fire into the demonstrators. Two union leaders were wounded although "only" beaten and not shot. There are reports of 3 dead and several wounded. One union leader was kidnapped by government soldiers right out of the ambulance on the way to the hospital. It's not really clear where they took him but only hours later, he along with three other union members were brought to a meeting with one of the presidents generals when the president himself came into the room and said "I will kill you, I only haven't decided when but I will kill you. I'm a soldier, I have killed before".
Athrough the day there was shooting all around our compound which is located about 15 miles from downtown.
Today, there is automatic fire to be heard from the neighbourhoods of Bambéto, Ratoma and Taouyah, all within a 5 mile radius from our house.
The biggest hope is that the military will soon refuse to shoot at their own people and stop protecting an old, retarded criminal who has continued robbing their country for decades.
Guinea has always been a safe harbour for refugees from neighbouring countries like Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia that were and the latter still remains troubled by years of gruesome civil wars. Although already being amongst the worlds poorest countries, they accepted the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees and shared with them whatever little they had for themselves.
We all hope that this beautiful country that is so rich in both, culture and resources will finaly get what seems to be the rarest good on this continent: "GOOD GOVERNMENT"
Thursday, January 18, 2007
January 18th 2007