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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 18:46 GMT
Rights body urges Dominican probe
Opposition protests in Santo Domingo
The strike followed months of protest
Amnesty International has called for a full inquiry into the deaths of at least six people in a 24-hour general strike in the Dominican Republic.

The human rights body said the country's authorities should bring those responsible to justice promptly.

Hundreds of activists were arrested in the run-up to the strike on Tuesday.

Labour unionists and students organised the demonstrations to protest against high prices and regular power cuts in the Caribbean nation.

The government accused activists of paying people to demonstrate, a charge the unions deny.

Culmination

The strike paralysed the nation. Shops and schools were shut and buses remained parked.

The authorities must demonstrate their commitment to international standards by promptly bringing those involved to justice before ordinary courts
Amnesty statement
Officials said six people had died, including one policeman, and dozens were injured in the accompanying violence.

Strike organisers gave higher casualty figures.

Amnesty said the strike was a culmination of months of protest.

"These most recent deaths come in the wake of months of civil disturbances ... in which scores of demonstrators and bystanders, as well as some police, have been killed or injured," the organisation's statement said.

"The authorities must demonstrate their commitment to international standards governing the use of force by law enforcement officials by promptly bringing those involved in the reported violations to justice before ordinary courts," it added.

The country's president, Hipolito Mejia, said on Sunday he would react "without leniency" to breaches of public order.

But he has since described the violence as "isolated" and indicated that he would hold discussions with "all the sectors of national life".


SEE ALSO:
Dominican protests turn violent
12 Nov 03  |  Americas
Dominicans arrest union activists
10 Nov 03  |  Americas
Dominicans protest at high prices
16 Mar 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Dominican Republic
11 Mar 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Dominican Republic
11 Mar 03  |  Country profiles


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