Six dead as protests turn violent in Guinea

Demonstrators ask for a higher salary and better working conditions for teachers.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Soldiers walk in a street during a protest by teachers asking for wage increase and more hiring on February 20, 2017 in Conakry.

At least six people died during violent protests in the Guinean capital on Monday, as people demonstrated over teachers' strikes that have closed schools for the past three weeks.

Four men, including two young people, and one woman were shot and killed during the clashes, said a hospital source.

At least 30 people were also wounded, including members of the police force in Conakry, the government said in a statement.

In the past weeks, mainly young people and students have taken to the streets to support teachers' strikes as the unions launched the strike on February 1 to protest the government's decision to dismiss or cut the salaries of many junior teachers after the latest civil service exams.

TRT World's Sarah Jones reports

Unidentified assailants on Monday morning attacked a police station and demonstrators clashed with gendarmes in several districts of Conakry, witnesses said.

The government called the protests "illegal and forbidden" and marked them "acts of violence, of vandalism."

The government closed schools on February 1, and asked the teachers to return to school two weeks later after a series of talks.

However, unions called for a strike, which was still in effect on Monday in the capital and in other parts of the country.

General strikes about 10 years ago caused major disruptions in Guinea, which has around a third of the world's reserves of bauxite, used to make aluminium. The subsequent crackdown led by security forces led to the deaths of 135 people.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies