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Jan-30-2011 02:52printcommentsVideo

Algeria and the Continuing World Revolution

A look at the current developments and the history that has led to them...

Image shows protesters who have climbed aboard a tank.
Image shows protesters who have climbed aboard a tank.

(SALEM, Ore.) - AFP reports that over 10,000 protesters took to the streets demonstrating against authorities in Algeria's northeastern city of Bejaia Saturday. Local organisers told reporters that the country's latest rally is inspired by neighboring Tunisia.

Demonstrators are said to have marched peacefully in Bejaia, located in Algeria's Berber-speaking Kabylie region. Their slogans were inspired by the movement in Tunisia.

Mohamed Ikhervane, a lawmaker with the opposition Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD), told AFP they called out, "For a radical change of the regime."

RCD leader Said Sadi, whose group organised the rally, reported that the protest gathered more than 10,000 people.

Ikhervane said there were no problems with police. They were present but did not clash with the protesters who dispersed calmly.

However, the lack of police contact has not been the case in recent days and weels as you can see from the accompanying video. Things have not gone smoothly in a number of cases.

There is more direct action on the immediate horizon. The pro-democracy Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) announced plans a new march in Algiers on 12 February.

Mustapha Bouchachi woh heads the group, told AFP the protest had been postponed from the original date of 9 February so more people, including students and workers could take part.

The LADDH partly comprises a larger group called the National Coordination for Change and Democracy, which was formed after the deadly riots in early January that claimed the lives of 5 and left over 800 injured.

Their demand: the end of the government and its 19-year state of emergency.

All of the protests in the Algiers haven't gone well as the EuroNews reports. A video they posted six days ago shows opposition protesters in Algeria hemmed into the RCD party headquarters by riot police. As hundreds of others gathered in Algiers, police broke up the demo. Echoing events in neighboring Tunisia, protests over living conditions are evolving into a more general call for political change.

Algerian police break up opposition rally - Story by EuroNews

Wikipedia explains that Algeria's head of state is the president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. He was originally elected to a five-year term, but the term limits were tossed out. Before the president was limited to two five-year terms. A constitutional amendment passed by the Parliament on 11 November 2008 removed this limitation and Abdelaziz Bouteflika stayed in office.

The President is the head of the Council of Ministers, the High Security Council, and he appoints the Prime Minister who is also the head of government. The Prime Minister appoints the Council of Ministers.

Algeria has suffered under this tyranny for almost two decades.

To gain perspective, we can look back 14 years to a statement in a 1997 article published by International Viewpoint titled Algeria - "It seems surrealistic to talk about human rights", Houssin Zahouan, serving as general secretary of the Algerian League for Defence of Human Rights (LADDH)

Houssin Zahouan was asked to describe working conditions in Algeria:

"The situation of human rights in Algeria is grave, and it could not be otherwise. It seems surrealistic to talk about human rights today in a country where the number of dead can be counted in the tens of thousands, where a state of emergency has been in existence for years, where the violence is explosive and where everything is closed off.

"Nevertheless, the League for the Defence of Human Rights has not given up. The situation we face is quite difficult for the sole reason that from the beginning the government has targeted our organisation as a primary enemy, and prevented us from opening an office. Our telephones are cut off and our post office box is monitored. Add to this a boycott by the media and the vilification of our league by portraying it as a pro-Islamic organisation.

"Algerians continue to die in silence and with the almost total indifference of international public opinion. Why?"

The AFP article describes mounting grievances over spiraling costs and unemployment as the triggers behind the riots that began earlier this month, set into motion by Tunisia's public protests that forced its president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee.

Algiers quickly moved to reduce prices for oil, sugar and other basic necessities which had seen dramatic price hikes. The government also assured the continuance of subsidies for essential goods including flour.

Fire Suicides

Report discusses recent fire suicides in Algeria and elsewhere.

One thing that is very dramatic about Algeria, is the determination of people who are willing to sacrifice their lives to bring about peace.

Suicide bombers get endless media attention, so should the eight human beings who have set themselves on fire in protest to the governmental injustice. Their selfless act was first lodged in the public mind after a Buddhist monk set himself on fire in protest of the war in Vietnam.

Media groups including AFP are reporting that some of those who set themselves ablaze in political protest "were deemed to be linked to mental health issues" which sounds like a cop out; a typical reaction to things that people in comfortable setting can not comprehend,.

One agency that takes a more realistic look at this deadly trend of sacrifice is France 24 News. Their report reveals that in addition to the seven cases in Algeria, there are several more in Tunisia and Egypt.

The first case was reported in Tunisia, where the whole movement gained great strides.

Officials say the fiery suicide is being copied. Some might used the word 'inspiration' to describe the goals of these agonizing deaths. Again I stress that when even one person of Israeli nationality dies, the war machine roars to life.

I guess it can't mobilize to fight this show of humanity.

Sources:

Thousands in Algeria protest march: organisers - (AFP)

Unrest Breaks Out Across Egypt -EuroNews

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Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address: newsroom@salem-news.com




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Egypt: censorship underway January 30, 2011 1:40 pm (Pacific time)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/30/egypt-shuts-down-al-jazeera-operations


egyptian prisons update January 30, 2011 8:47 am (Pacific time)

It appears a number of political prisoners in Egypt are now freed and have returned to Palestine.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Dozens-dead-as-thousands-escape-Egypt-prisons/Article1-656494.aspx


Free Egypt. January 30, 2011 8:32 am (Pacific time)

Israel is scared.

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/01/30/israel.egypt.reax/index.html

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