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Algeria and the Continuing World RevolutionTim King Salem-News.com
A look at the current developments and the history that has led to them...
(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.
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 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.
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.
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