Monday, 28 February 2011

Algeria: Another man dies after setting himself on fire

On Sunday 27th February, a 25 year old man identified as L Abderrazak, set himself alight in Bordj Bou Arredidj 235km east of Algiers. El Watan daily reported that the man had suffered third degree burns and later died in hospital.

This latest case takes the toll of deaths by self immolation in Algeria since mid-January to five. According to the daily, Abderrazak resorted to setting himself on fire over a problem with his identity card.

The spate of self-immolations sweeping North Africa and the Middle East were set off by a young Tunisian in December, sparking the “Jasmine Revolution” which toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

On Saturday 26th February, 50 protesters attended a banned rally in Martyrs Square, Algiers, demanding greater democratic freedoms. Protesters led by the small RCD opposition party chanted: "Algeria, free and democratic!" and "The regime must go!"

Algerian security forces armed with shields and batons dispersed the protesters within two hours without any clashes. In a bid to appease the nation, the government has bowed to some demands by lifting a 19 year old state of emergency.

But, RDC spokesman,Mohsen Belabes, said:“The government is fooling us. On one hand it is saying that the state of emergency has been lifted. On the other hand, it is still using its police to prevent us from expressing our views."

Sources: AFP, Ahram, Sky News, News Australia, Reuters

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

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