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Hundreds arrested after Guinea martial law declaration: rights groups

[JURIST] Hundreds of civilians have been arrested for opposing the Republic of Guinea's government since President Lansana Conte [BBC profile] announced martial law last week, according to human rights groups Sunday. Martial law was imposed [JURIST report] after Guinea [JURIST news archive] was swept by protests and strikes in opposition [Reuters backgrounder] to Conte's continued rule. More then 120 people have been killed so far in 2007 during government protests and more than 270 civilians have been arrested since the imposition of martial law. Guinea's military has been accused of firing upon unarmed protesters [HRW report] as well as beating and raping civilians.

The country's unions announced Saturday that they will not negotiate to end the strike until martial law is lifted. The emergency declaration institutes a strict curfew and authorizes the military to monitor phone calls and to put under house arrest anyone who engages in activities against the state. Conte, a known recluse, has been president of the West African country for 23 years. Reuters has more.

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