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Nigerian unions decry response to protests

Nigerian unions decry response to protests
Goodluck Jonathan, pctured at the United Nations in New York Sept. 21, 2011. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo

ABUJA, Nigeria, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Two trade unions accused Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan of using thugs to attack people protesting a decision to end fuel subsidies.

The Nigeria Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria also urged protesters to keep up their nationwide strike against fuel price increases, CNN reported.

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"In a [former Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak-style response to the people's protests, the Jonathan administration brought into Abuja thugs armed with various weapons including guns," the unions said in a joint statement issued Tuesday.

"Labor warns the presidency that it will be held responsible for whatever atrocities these thugs commit," the statement said. "We call on Nigerians to continue the strikes, rallies and protests ... Wednesday ... and subsequent days until the Jonathan government listens to the voice of the Nigerian people."

The strikes were prompted by a government decision to remove the subsidy, resulting in prices more than doubling in the poor African country.

In a recent address, Jonathan sought to explain why the subsidies had to end, telling Nigerians the government would invest the money in the country's decrepit infrastructure.

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