Socialist Worker

Protests grow bigger in Algeria despite brutal police crackdown

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2651

The movement in Algeria has shown its power

The movement in Algeria has shown its power (Pic: @jadaliyya/Twitter)


A protester in Algeria has died in hospital of injuries sustained while protesting. Yettou Ramzi’s relatives said this was because he was beaten by police.

Despite increased police repression, protests continue in many towns and cities.

The weekly protests have effectively overturned a ban since 2002 on such mobilisations in Algiers and some other towns and cities. Students and university workers have launched indefinite boycotts of classes, with one source claiming activists at 98 percent of Algeria’s 105 universities have backed the call.

Strikes have taken place, particularly in the public sector. And workers have been central to the protest movement.

When energy minister Mohamed Arkab visited state gas firm Sonelgaz’s headquarters last week, workers blockaded the entrance to demand he resign.

Arkab was the CEO of Sonelgaz before being brought into former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government.

The Algerian ruling class is trying desperately to manage their losses after protests and strikes forced the resignation of Bouteflika. But it faces a hard task.

Last week head of the constitutional council Tayeb Belaiz was forced to stand down. He was one of the “3 Bs” protesters targeted. Now there are two left.

In an indication of how toxic the regime has become, other political parties have rejected attempts by interim president Bensalah to hold talks ahead of elections scheduled for 4 July.

The regime has tried to push people’s anger against a corrupt clique around Bouteflika—particularly members of his family who benefitted from corruption.

The movement of protests and strikes can win much more than just some changes at the top.


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