A school student defies security forces in an earlier protest

Once again teachers in the West African state of Gabon have embarked on a month's strike over unpaid wages. They are also demanding that early years teachers be integrated into the school system - they have been working without salaries for many years. Teachers in the country earn poverty wages - about $130 a month - making it difficult to live a reasonable life.

As a result of the strike the government of dictator Ali Bongo promised to pay the money owed to them - however that has still not happened. Moreover his government has a habit of sending out armed security forces to attack the teachers and the school and university students who often come out to support them.

Gabon has one of the highest average per capita incomes in Africa, yet a large proportion of the population is living in poverty, including teachers. Average life expectancy is only 52 years. It has rich mineral reserves, including oil and manganese but these are syphoned off partly by an elite group, led by Bongo and his coterie, who took over from his father as ruler of the country in 2009, and partly by global corporations. These bodies enjoy areas of the country where there is full tax exemption for ten years, 'relaxed' labour laws and energy at 50% of the price, which consumers have to pay. No wonder the US Central Intelligence Agency praises Bongo in its 'factbook' for, "taking steps to make Gabon a more attractive investment destination"