Sunday, January 9, 2011
Algeria anounces mass arrest of rioters
Ould Kablia said around 1,000 protestors had been arrested, many of them minors, during the weekend disturbances. Out of the 826 people injured, the minister said 763 were police.
The government decided on Saturday to cut taxes and import duties on sugar and cooking oil. "Nothing can cast doubt on the resolute will of the state, under the direction of the president of the republic, to intervene whenever necessary to preserve the purchasing power of citizens in the face of any price increase," a government statement said.
The country has seen three days of unrest over the rising costs of living and unemployment. According to government figures unemployment stands at 10 per cent. Independent organisations put it closer to 25 per cent.
The number of killed climbed to at least five, after the 65 year old taxi-driver Sadek Benjedid died in hospital in Annaba (east of the country).He had been exposed to an overdosis of teargas the day before. One of the other people killed was named as 18-year-old Azzedine Lebza. He was shot dead in Ain Lahdjel in the M'Sila region, 300km from Algiers. Earlier another man was killed in the same M'sila region. In Bou Smail, a small town 50km west of Algiers, on Friday the 32-year-old Akriche Abdelfattah was killed. According to medical sources he had been hit in the face by a tear gas canister. A fifth man was killed in Tiaret, while defending his fathers bar against attackers.
Minister Ould Kablia on Sunday announced that the riots were under control. Nevertheless the paper Al Watan reported unrest in several quarters of Algiers, in Bouira, Mascara and Tizi Ouzou, among other places.