General strike grinds Guinea to standstill
February 15 2016 11:59 PM
Prashanth
Prashanth

AFP/Conakry


Shops, banks and offices remained closed yesterday and streets empty of traffic in Guinea’s capital and in other cities, the first day of an open-ended general strike called by trade unions.
Union leaders are demanding that prices of basic commodities and fuel be brought down by the government, while also pressing home pay claims.
“The strike is being 100% followed,” Louis Mbemba Soumah, general secretary of the Syndicated Union of Workers of Guinea (USTG), told AFP. The union, one of the largest in the west African country, called jointly for the strike with the even bigger National Confederation of Workers of Guinea.
Police were deployed in strength in the capital Conakry, mostly on major roads and in front of university and school premises, and schools were closed, an AFP journalist saw.
Even usually bustling markets were shut down, with only a handful of service stations open in the city centre.
Public transport also ground to a halt, said Amadou Bah, manager of the bus station in the suburb of Bambeto. “No vehicle will leave here, neither for the interior of the country nor for neighbouring countries,” he said.
Residents reached by telephone also reported total shutdowns in major towns such as Kankan in the east, N’Zerekore in the south, Labe in the north, Boke in the northwest and Mamou in central Guinea.
The last strike on such a nationwide scale took place in January 2015.



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