Monday, 18 October 2010

Algeria: Desperation of the unemployed meets a ruthless state

Algeria's chronic unemployment among its young people takes on many different forms of social resistance. In Laghouat, as in most other parts of the country, there has been a long history of such distress, protest and a feeling among the local population of being abandoned by the state.

Last week, 27 unemployed young people from Laghouat, who had failed to gain an audience with the local wali about their difficulties, took their protest to Algiers to stage a hunger strike outside the 'Maison de la Presse', where they were beaten up by the police. They then moved on to take their protest to the Chambre Nationale d'Enregistrement (Ministry of Labour) on the boulevard Zirout Youcef. After again being beaten up by the police and refusing to move, they were eventually addressed, after some three hours, by a ministry official who promised that jobs would be found for them in two weeks.

In the meantime, the police had gone to the home of the group's 'leader' in Laghouat and threatened his family in an attempt to get him to come back from Algiers. It now remains to be seen whether the promised jobs materialise.

For more news and expert analysis about Algeria please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.

© 2010 Menas Associates

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