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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 17:06 GMT
Deaths on day 10 of Guinea strike
Guinea's President Lansana Conte
President Conte seized power in a 1984 coup
Two more people have died on the 10th day of a national strike in Guinea, as union leaders continue to call for President Lansana Conte to resign.

Stray bullets killed one youth in the capital, Conakry, and a schoolboy died, in the eastern town of Kissidougou.

A BBC correspondent says burning tyres, iron bars and smashed vehicles litter Conakry's streets, after protesters clashed with security forces.

The unions blame the president for the high cost of living.

The unions, backed by opposition parties, also accuse him of personally securing the release from prison of two men, including Guinea's richest man Mamadou Sylla, accused of corruption.

While we have demonstrations in the suburbs of Conakry, it is not an immediate threat to the survival of the regime
Gilles Yabi
International Crisis Group

Some analysts suspect that the government is preventing text messages from being sent, because this is a key way in which the unionists have been mobilising support.

They are barred from state-owned radio or TV and only one privately owned radio station grants them interviews.

SMS messages sent to subscribers of the state-owned network Sotelgui are not getting through.

Counting on the army

Gilles Yabi of the think-tank International Crisis Group told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the government had deployed heavy security to prevent the protests from reaching the centre of Conakry.

"While we have demonstrations in the suburbs of Conakry, it is not an immediate threat to the survival of the regime," he said.

He said many protesters were instead counting on a faction of the army to stage a coup to oust the president.

A security official told the AFP news agency that almost 300 people had been arrested since Wednesday.

Mr Conte, who seized power in a 1984 coup and has since won three elections, is in his 70s and in poor health suffering from diabetes.

Three people died earlier this week, sparking widespread anger as the protests spread nationwide.

The police have denied reports that they fired live rounds at the demonstrators.

Workers in bauxite mines - the country's main source of revenue - have also stopped work in support of the strike.

Guinea is the world's main producer of bauxite, which is the raw material for aluminium

On Tuesday, a minister said the government had fulfilled the strikers' demands by increasing salaries and cutting some taxes.

This is the third general strike in a year.


SEE ALSO
Guinea anger over dead strikers
18 Jan 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Guinea
09 Nov 04 |  Country profiles

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