See also:
» 05.03.2013 - Ethnic violence in Guinea ahead of polls
» 15.11.2010 - Alpha Condé proclaimed winner of Guinea poll
» 15.11.2010 - No election results in rioting Guinea
» 14.04.2010 - "Guinea security reform on track"
» 16.02.2010 - Guinea’s civilian administration set up
» 03.02.2010 - Guinea twists September massacre findings
» 19.01.2010 - UN group backs Guinea’s compromise deal
» 18.01.2010 - Opposition names govt's head candidate

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Science - Education | Politics

Students protests return to fragile Guinea

afrol News / IRIN, 27 March - Tensions continue to run high in Guinea with some 3,000 students taking to the streets on Monday in the town of Labé, 600 kilometres northeast of the capital Conakry, which saw violent clashes between protesters and police during several weeks of anti-government riots earlier this year.

"We are the forgotten people of the republic," said Amamdou Touré, a protesting student from the University of Labé in the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. "This place does not have what it needs to make it a normal university."

The demonstrations mostly took place around the university where students have been on strike since 22 March, according to university authorities and students contacted by telephone.

The students said they were protesting the shoddy state of their campus and the lack of investment in the education system. Guinea's universities, like most public institutions in Guinea have suffered from decades of neglect. With a lack of teaching staff, class sizes are sometimes in the hundreds.

Motivation is low as many students say they believe it is under the table cash not hard work or intellect that wins them high marks. And once students have completed their education, few are likely to find meaningful work afterwards anyway.

Observers say it is chronic problems such as these which have pushed many people to participate in unprecedented anti-government demonstrations over the last year.

So far, authorities have reacted peacefully to the Labé student protests, in contrast to most earlier protest actions organised in the country. An improved human rights situation had been among the demands of the protesters that forced President Lansana Conté to employ a Prime Minister of national confidence earlier this year.

The peaceful nature of the protests and the lack of police or military intervention is seen as a good sign that the national reconciliation in on track. Many observers nevertheless fear that the student unrest in Labé still could spark wider protest as the political situation in Guinea remains very fragile.

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