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Guinea: Unions Call Off Strike After Secretary General of Press Union Released

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Trade unions in Guinea said on Wednesday that they were calling off a nationwide strike that had been keeping the military-run nation immobile for three days following the release of a well-known media activist.

Guinea’s secretary general of the Union of Press Professionals, Sekou Jamal Pendessa, was arrested last month for organizing a protest against censorship.

One of the principal demands of the strikers, in a nation where demonstrations are uncommon under junta leader Mamady Doumbouya, was his release on Wednesday. According to a statement, the movement “notifies the public, private, and informal authorities of its willingness to resume negotiations from tomorrow, Thursday.”

The release of Pendessa, according to union movement spokesman Abdoulaye Sow, means “we can return to the negotiating table with the government to support the other claims.” Pendessa, who had been in custody for over a month, was given a six-month prison sentence on Friday, of which three months were suspended. He was freed when the appeal case in the capital Conakry reduced that sentence to one month in jail.

The demands of the protesters to be addressed in the next round of negotiations include reduced food costs, the removal of media restrictions, and better living circumstances for public personnel.

“It’s a victory for democracy, of justice against injustice, of justice against the arbitrary,” Pendessa said after the ruling.

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