Thursday, January 6, 2011
Algerians follow example of Tunisia: street protests in Algiers and other parts of the country
Algeria’s angry youth violently clashed late on Wednesday with security forces in a number of cities over the rise of food prices, unemployment, and a perceived deterioration of basic government services.
Al Arabiyya tv and Al-Jazeera have both footage of young rioters in the capital city Algiers hurling stones at security forces who responded firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Eyewitnesses told Al Arabiya that rioters stormed the police headquarters near the building of the directorate general for national security in the neighborhood of Bab el-Oued in the capital. AlJazeera reported protests at the Martyrs' Square, Balkor, Bash Jarrah, Babal Wadi and Astawali.
In Oran, a major city on the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Algeria and the second largest city of the country, hundreds of young people took the streets and closed a number of streets, according to Al-Arabiyya. . Some of them threw animal bones in the streets and on government buildings. A young protester said bones were hurled as a message to the government "because it left nothing for us except bones."
The correspondent of Al-Jazeera reported that both in Jalfa in southern Algeria and Wahran in the west, also violent rallies took place in protest over the deteriorating living conditions and rising prices.
Demonstrators posted videos on the internet of large fires burning in the street, police firing tear gas, and protesters throwing rocks.
The riots in the capital reportedly broke out in solidarity with the alleged suppression of protests in the cities of Zeralda and Esharaqa by paramilitary forces, says Al-Arabiyya. In Tibaza province, 70 kilometers west of the capital, 32 people were arrested following violent riots in residential areas and in the province’s major urban center.
Government-owned TV channels ignored the protests. They instead reported on the progress of government housing and infrastructure projects across the country.
Prices of some food products, like cooking oil and sugar, have increased by 150 percent during the rule of the ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.