Algerian Protests Break Out Over Electricity, Water and Housing
Author: alkhabar Posted July 10, 2012
Protests broke out yesterday [July 8] in the Algerian towns of Tipaza, Tizi Ouzou and Blida over issues related to housing, power outages, social unrest and dire living conditions. Protesters set tires on fire, blocked roads and shut down the headquarters of local administrations while calling for the fulfillment of their demands.
Residents of the northern and southern neighborhoods of Sidi Moussa — a village in Nador municipality, which is in Tipaza Province — blocked National Road No. 11. They paralyzed traffic by setting tires on fire in the roads. The protesters were demonstrating against water and electricity cuts. They also demanded the reinstallation of speed bumps that were removed during the president’s weapons-inspection visit to the Military Academy in Cherchell.
The village’s residents gathered at around 10am along National Road No. 11, which divides the village into two parts. They blocked the gateways in the village that connect the eastern and western sides of the province as well as the pathways leading to the village, using tires that they later set on fire. The protesters demanded an end to power outages and water cuts.
Those driving toward the city of Cherchell through the Nador roundabout were confronted by the protesters, who have refused all attempts to end their blockade. This prompted members of the Gendarmerie Nationale (the national rural police force) in Nador to intervene to contain the situation. They redirected all vehicles, which were forced to go backward and take other routes, such as the highway that links Nador and Sidi Amr.
The Gendarmerie Nationale forces remained on location in anticipation of an escalation. Meanwhile, authorities reinstalled the speed bumps on National Road No. 11 from the neighborhoods of Ben Othmanthe to the village of Sidi Moussa.
In the village of Atham Nazar in the municipality of Bosvan in Tizi Ouzou, residents blocked the roundabout and the village’s Sonelgaz (Algeria's state-owned gas and electricity utility company) office, demanding that the village be linked to the gas-supply network.
According to the village’s residents, the protests came about after their village was denied access to natural gas while the neighboring villages have been granted access. They added that although the gas-transport network reaches their village, they are not benefiting from this service.
The protesters asserted that they would escalate their movement until their demands are met, especially since the area is known for having harsh winters, snow and extremely cold weather.
Protests broke out in Khenchela two days ago [July 7] over the same social problems and a number of citizens and policemen were wounded. In Tarif, aides of the municipal guard organized a sit-in in front of the Provincial Hall in solidarity with their fellow protesters in Blida province. They declared their support for the demands that were raised by the members of the security corps and vowed to continue organizing sit-ins and to escalate protests if their demands are not fulfilled.
Moreover, residents of an old colonial-era camp near Hammam Melouane shut the doors of the Provincial Hall. They are hoping to force the officials to take action and evacuate them from the camp, in which the residents have been residing for over half a century. The protesters voiced their anger over their marginalization and the non-fulfillment of the promise to evacuate them from the camp, where, to this day, they still share public toilets. They threatened to protest again if they are not transferred in the very near future to the housing complex built for them that has been ready for some time now.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/07/electricity-water-and-housing-is.html