Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sudden intifada shakes Algeria

Image of the riots in Algiers
I just found this BBC news item buried quite low under pointless institutional speeches by various world politicians. The report seems to indicate that all Algeria is uprising and that the government is quite under pressure. 

The cities mentioned include most large cities in the North African country: Algiers, the capital, Oran, the second largest city,  Tizi Ouzou (capital of of the unrecognized nation of Kabylia) and several Eastern cities: Annaba, Constantine, Jijel, Setif and Bouira. So it seems like the whole country has arisen.

The revolt (intifada in Arabic) seems to have been triggered by increased food prices and follows a similar uprising in nearby Tunisia, which I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. 

The anger of the people has been going on for all this week, with the first clashes reported to have happened on just after the New Year, when prices were suddenly raised. However the revolt has taken strength since Wednesday specially, when the intensity of the protests in Algiers grew and the revolt spread to other parts of the state, often attacking government buildings.

As usual there is some more information at Al Jazeera (also here). They mention as background causes, the deep trauma of the 1990s dirty war and its brutal crimes never investigated, the intense demographic growth, with vast sectors of the youth highly educated but unemployed, and very specially the widespread corruption and lack of democracy.

As I mentioned in relation with the Tunisian revolt, I believe that the days of the autocratic post-colonial regimes in North Africa have run out. It's time for change in North Africa.

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