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25.01.2007 Guinea

Guinea police clash with strikers

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Security forces in Guinea have clashed with demonstrators, calling on President Lansana Conte to resign on the 13th day of a general strike.

At least 17 people died in running battles with police in the capital, Conakry and other towns. Ten people were killed in clashes last week.

A BBC correspondent says many thousands took to the streets in the biggest protests since the strike began.

Marchers were chanting "Enough” and “Bye Bye Conte.”

Guinea's unions and opposition parties say President Conte is too sick to govern.

The strikers also accuse Mr Conte of mismanaging the economy and personally securing the release from prison of two men accused of corruption.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the African Union head Alpha Oumar Konare have called for dialogue between the two sides.

Hundreds of people are said to have been arrested since the strike began.

Mr Conte seized power in a 1984 coup but has since won three elections.

He is in his 70s but suffers from diabetes.

The current general strike is the third in the last year.