Algerien: Polizeiproteste weiten sich aus

MideastWire.com

„Source to Zaman: Ghardaia police sit-ins reach Bouteflika palace“

On October 16, the independent Az-Zaman newspaper carried the following report: „On the third day of their protest action, around 1,000 Algerian policemen demonstrated yesterday outside the office of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers to demand the improvement of their work conditions. In this context, Algerian sources said to Az-Zaman that the police protests and sit-ins extended to a number of provinces, including Blida, where the police announced will not work or implement the security-related obligations and orders. The sources continued that the protesters rejected the promises made by the interior minister, who had met with them yesterday, and moved their sit-in from in front of the government building to the Algerian presidential building, knowing they were joined by the police of other provinces…

„Also according to the sources, the capital Algiers is witnessing tensions and wide security deployment, accompanied by the spread of checkpoints on all important intersections. The sources added on condition of anonymity that the inhabitants of the capital and the remaining Algerian cities were very concerned about the police sit-ins, noting that this was the first time that the police stage such an unprecedented action, which conveyed unclear conflicts taking place right now between the wings of the ruling institution. In their statements to Az-Zaman, the sources indicated that the protesters were chanting slogans against General Security Director Mohammed Amel, i.e. a former Algerian presidential candidate, without showing their political intentions. They continued that the police protests erupted in the city of Ghardaia, which is witnessing ongoing clashes between its Arabs and Amazigh populations.

„These clashes had erupted after the police command issued instructions to its elements to alleviate the pressure on both sides in Ghardaia, which fueled the police protests due to fears of appearing weak. It is worth mentioning at this level that it is rare to see the security forces taking to the streets in Algeria, whose political life has been dominated by the National Liberation Front Party and the army ever since it gained its independence from France in 1962… The protests started in the capital on Tuesday with a march that was joined by hundreds of policemen, who had come to show solidarity with their colleagues near the city of Ghardaia in the southern part of the country, where a number of police officers had been injured in clashes between the Arabs and Berber… Consequently, the officers in the area staged marches in protest against their work conditions and their dealing with violence…

„Still, it is unlikely to see the police protests causing security mayhem, as the Algerians have been avoiding any trouble since the 90s war between the army and the Islamists, a war that caused the death of around 200,000 people. At the same time, the security forces in Algeria are still fighting the remnants of a rebellion linked to Al-Qa’idah and have been trying to contain any social disgruntlement since the eruption of the Arab spring revolutions in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.“

Az-Zaman, Iraq