Monday, 28 July 2014
Algerian anger at Bastille Day celebration particpation
Further illustration of what many people now believe is part of the price Algeria is having to pay for France’s support for President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s fourth mandate surrounded Algeria’s participation in the 14 July Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
Those not versed in the often-unfathomable complexities of Franco-Algerian relations might have viewed France’s invitation to Algeria to participate in this year’s Bastille Day celebrations as a timely gesture towards improving relations between the two countries.
However, as news leaked out that Bouteflika had accepted the invitation and that three Algerian military officers and the Algerian flag might be present at the Champs-Élysées celebrations, there were expressions of anger from both France’s far right and almost the entire Algerian political spectrum.
At the heart of the anger in Algeria are the established position of almost all political leaders and, above all, the veterans of Algeria’s War of Independence that Algeria would never accept such an invitation until France, the former colonial power, apologies for the crimes it committed in Algeria.
After many days of debate within the local media, with almost total opposition to any participation, Bouteflika’s decision to send an envoy, in the person of Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi, has united, albeit perhaps temporarily, almost all political parties and strands against Bouteflika. Particularly dangerous for the presidential circle, however, is that many of Bouteflika’s supporters have now come out against him. With his popularity already at an all-time low, one can only wonder what threats or promises the Elysée may have made him.
For more news and expert analysis about Algeria, please see Algeria Focus and Algeria Politics & Security.
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