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Unrest Spreads Across Africa with Strikes, Rallies, Attempted Coups

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

From West to South to the eastern Horn, African leaders are facing a rising tide of anger and frustration seen in massive rallies and strikes from Guinea Bissau, Guinea, to Malawi and South Africa.

This week, the recently-elected President of Guinea, Alpha Conde, survived two attacks on his home in the capital, Conakry, including an assassination attempt in the early morning hours.

Guinean authorities arrested several military figures, one of whom is said to be the former head of the Guinean army, Gen. Nouhou Thiam. He was fired by Conde soon after the president took office seven months ago.

To the north, in neighboring Guinea-Bissau, thousands took to the streets in Bissau for the second rally in five days to demand the resignation of the Prime Minister, Carlos Gomes Junior, accused of blocking an assassination probe.

Thirteen opposition parties took part in the protest that drew some 15,000 people, according to organizers -- more than the 10,000 who gathered for the first rally on July 14.

The protesters were demanding justice for ex-president Joao Bernardo Vieira and other figures murdered in 2009 in the small west African nation said to be the poorest country in the world. The European Union has suspended aid and the U.S. has imposed sanctions over the country’s links to international drug trafficking.

Looking south, in a rare show of unity, Malawi's opposition parties and a coalition of civil society groups are planning protests on July 20, targeting repressive media laws recently passed by parliament, fuel shortages and bad economic governance.

Finally, labor protests threatened in South Africa and Nigeria could create massive gridlock in Africa’s two leading countries. Nigerian workers are furious over the government’s refusal to enforce a new minimum wage equal to less than $120 a month. Governors of some 36 states are refusing to pay the new wage, claiming they have insufficient funds.

"There is no backing down on our demands. The governors must pay the new wage or there will be no industrial peace in the country," said Owei Lakemfa, of the Nigeria Labor Congress. "We will cripple the oil industry. Workers manning export terminals will be withdrawn and this will halt export of crude."

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