Monday, 22 April 2013

Algeria: Protests Continue in South

There are no signs that the protests by the jobless in Algeria's desert regions are abating. According to the National Committee for Protection of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), and reported in the press, some 1,000 people turned out for the demonstration of jobless youths held in Ghardaia last Saturday (April 13).

The protest, unlike the one the previous week which ran into heavy police violence, was peaceful from beginning to end, just as organisers wanted it to be.

CNDCC members were determined to distance themselves from the violence of the previous demonstration in Ghardaia and the violence that had also broken in Ouargla the previous day (April 12). One young man had been killed in Ouargla from tear gas asphyxiation.

Tahar Belabbes, the national co-ordinator for the CNDCC, expressed disapproval over the clashes that erupted in his hometown of Ouargla. He said: “We have criticised and warned against the risk of young people being manipulated into becoming violent. Our movement is a peaceful one and will remain so.”

The next demonstration is scheduled to take place in Djelfa.

Belabbes said that the protests would not stop until the authorities engaged in a frank and transparent discussion with representatives of the unemployed. He noted that the CNDDC had representatives in all 48 provinces.

He added: “If the authorities intend to play the violence card to discredit us, they will need a whole army across all 48 provinces of the country to manipulate young people and spur them to commit acts of violence and counter-violence."

The movement's leaders have made no secret of their ambition of positioning themselves as an alternative to the traditional system of local representation and have been targeting local elected representatives and prominent figures, who they say have no right to speak on behalf of young people.

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

© 2013 Menas Associates

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