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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06CONAKRY1647 2006-11-03 13:09:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Conakry
Cable title:  

GUINEA: SEVERAL PEACEFUL PROTESTS UP COUNTRY

Tags:   PGOV PINS ECON PREF EAID ELTN ASEC GV 
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031309Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0165
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
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RUEPGBA/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//POLAD/J2//
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 001647 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

TREASURY FOR OFFICE OF AFRICAN NATIONS

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINS ECON PREF EAID ELTN ASEC GV
SUBJECT: GUINEA: SEVERAL PEACEFUL PROTESTS UP COUNTRY

REFS: (A) Conakry 1616, (B) Conakry 1622



1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Between October 26 and October 30, Guinea
experienced several peaceful demonstrations up country. N'Zerekore
remains calm in the wake of an October 26 march by over 5000
citizens in the city (ref A). Two demonstrations in the port city
of Kamsar were led by women protesting reductions in the health and
family benefits offered to employees of the Bauxite Company of
Guinea (CBG). On October 30, youth blocked traffic in protest of
road conditions and lack of electricity and water in the mining town
of Fria. The protests do not appear to be linked in any coordinated
fashion and have arisen spontaneously in response to local issues.
All of the cities remain peaceful. End Summary.



--------------------------

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Calm in N'Zerekore as Citizens Await Government
Assistance


--------------------------

---



2. (SBU) On October 26, N'Zerekore was shut down with a peaceful
protest by over 5000 citizens who marched through the streets of the
regional capital (reftel). In the wake of the protest, the
government responded with a promise to mobilize immediate resources
for road repair. On October 28, Moussa Solano, Minister of State
for Internal Affairs and Government Spokesperson, and Bana Sidibe,
Minister of State for Equipment, Territorial Development and
Environment, met with industrial, commercial, transportation, and
agro-forestry companies to ask for assistance and support for urgent
public works projects for N'Zerekore.



3. (SBU) Although the citizens called for the removal of
N'Zerekore's governor, Colonel Lamine Bangoura, and the prefet,
Commander Algassimou Barry, they remain in office. A presidential
decree would be necessary to remove them. Barry has been called to
Conakry for urgent business, and although Bangoura left N'Zerekore
at the height of the protest, he has since returned. Our contacts
told us that Solano and Sidibe, along with Madikaba Camara, Minister
of State for Economic Development, and representatives from UNDP are
planning to go to N'Zerekore on November 8 to address the population
directly. Since the protest, no senior government official has
visited the region in person although they have all made public
comments on government development efforts in the region.



--------------------------


Women Take Lead in Kamsar Demonstrations


--------------------------





4. (SBU) On October 25, women blocked road traffic in the mining
and port town of Kamsar. They were demonstrating the October 24
notice from CBG cutting company benefits to workers' families. Last
month, the company management decided to limit the number of covered
dependent children to ten and the number of covered dependent wives
to two. Minister of State Solano took the presidential helicopter
to Kamsar to mediate the crisis. After his intervention, CGB agreed
to rescind its decision. However, on October 30, the women once
again blocked the streets to demand the removal of several CBG
employees they claimed were hostile to the cultural and familial
norms of the community. Although press reports indicate that the
women also blocked railway lines, our contacts at CBG said its
operations were not effected. The protest remained peaceful, and no
arrests were reported. Kamsar is a major location for the
operations of CBG, Alcoa, and Global Alumina (ref B).



--------------------------



--------------------------


Fria Protests Government Failure to Provide Services


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (SBU) On October 30, citizens in the bauxite mining town of Fria
blocked the roads to demonstrate the government failure to mobile
resources for road repairs. During that day, all shops and offices
remained closed. On July 25, the Russian aluminum company RUSAL
signed an agreement with the government to provide USD 5 million for
road repairs in the city, where it operates bauxite mines and an
alumina refinery. The local population claims that, in the interim,
there has been no movement by the Ministry of Public Works and
accused the government of re-directing funds intended for the
community. During the protest, citizens called for immediate action
to provide better roads, electricity, and water. By October 31, all
the barricades were removed and normal activities resumed. There
were no reports of arrests.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





6. (SBU) We received reports of protest in the city of Boke, but
our contacts on the ground stated that nothing out of the ordinary

CONAKRY 00001647 002 OF 002


occurred. While the demonstrations in N'Zerekore, Kamsar, and Fria
took place over the same general period of time, they were
coordinated. In each case, the community was responding to local
issues. This spate of protests reflects a general sense of
discontent on the part of a population grappling with a dire
economic situation and no basic services. The government is
responding with reactive measures when the demonstrations occur
rather than proactively tackling the root problems. To its credit,
the government has not responded to any of the civil movements with
force. All of the protests have remained peaceful. We continue to
closely monitor the situation in these locations.

MCDONALD