Chaos as rioters rock Guinea
Around 100 demonstrators were shot dead by police and military forces during mass protests in the last few weeks throughout the west African nation of Guinea, according to a BBC report (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6364513.stm).
The current president, the 70-year-old Lansana Conte, who has ruled Guinea for 23 years, has recently refused to relinquish power despite concerns over his mental and physical health. A few months ago Conte repealed a presidential decree to give more power to the prime minister.
Recently, the country's economy has started to take a downturn. Massive unemployment and low civil servant wages have sparked large amounts of frustration with Conte's government.
As a result of the unrest, Conte has declared martial law. The army chief has order a curfew, only allowing people out of their homes between noon and 6:00 p.m.
According to a Reuters report, almost all the people that have died have been civilians (http://www.reuters.com/article/homepageCrisis/idUSL15772092._CH_.2400). Several of the casualties were bystanders hit by stray bullets.
The protests and the business strikes in correlation have caused food shortages. Many local businesses have shut down.
The strike leaders and protesters said they were unwilling to negotiate with Conte under conditions of martial law.
The BBC article uses a first-person narrative. It starts out with a hard-news lead before breaking off into an anecdote about the writer's car breaking down. In the middle of the narrative, the author gives some background information about the political situation in Guinea. He then goes into more anecdotes about witnessing gang violence, looting, and protesting. Finally the author closes off by telling stories of foriegners who are able to leave the country, and reiterating the fact that Guineans are trapped in this violence.
The Reuters article weaves in small narratives and details the lives of native Guineans into its story. It opens by describing the struggles of a local university student. It doesn't mention the 100 dead until about six or seven paragraphs in. The article focuses much more on the local perspective. The article finishes by talking about the food shortages and the economic implication, as well as possible negotiations.
Each article had it's own advantages and disadvantges. The BBC article's realistic, first-person descriptions give extra realism to the peace, but it leaves out the Guinean perspective of the Reuters article. However, the Reuters article didn't offer enough background. I thought that both articles didn't present the protester/striker perspective well enough.