Police in Guinea fire in air to disperse protesters

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CONAKRY, Sep 18 (Reuters) Police in Guinea's capital Conakry fired in the air and used tear gas today to disperse demonstrators throwing stones and burning tyres in protest at the rising cost of basic goods like rice.

Street protests in January and February killed more than 130 people and forced President Lansana Conte to appoint a new consensus prime minister in the West African country, following union demands for action to improve living conditions.

''They took to the streets to protest that the price of rice is too expensive. They've smashed up at least three rice stores, thrown stones and burned tyres on the road,'' a senior police official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the disturbances, which took place in the Bambeto and Cosa suburbs of the sprawling port city.

The unrest at the start of the year disrupted exports of bauxite from Guinea, the ore used in the production of aluminium. The country is among the world's poorest despite being the top exporter of the ore.


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