Algeria Is on High Alert Ahead of Jobless Protest

Article Summary
Given that a large protest against unemployment has been called for this Thursday in southern Algeria, the country’s police are on high alert, writes Mohammad Ben Ahmad.

Human rights activists are saying that the government is dealing with the demands of the unemployed in the south with harsh security measures. This is happening amid a new political discourse emphasizing the disparities between the north and the south.

Development experts attributed the instability in the south to the absence of a sustainable state development project. So is the interior minister’s assertion that there is no political dispute in the south enough to overcome the anger and the sense of exclusion that has poured onto the streets?

The problems of the people in the south, or what weather forecasters call “the rest of the country,” after desert tourism has died, is a snowball that is growing in size as it searches for government solutions without getting anything in return except empty promises. Today, “the rest of the country” has finally woken up.

The General Directorate for National Security and the National Gendarmerie ordered their officers to avoid clashing with protesters who are expected to demonstrate on Thursday. The police have assembled more than 3,000 officers to respond to any emergencies.

An official source from Rafla said that the call for a large demonstration by the unemployed would not have a large impact. The demonstration would denounce what the prime minister reportedly said. The source said, “The number and identities of the persons who are expected at such rallies are known and will not have any effect on public order in the Algerian oil capital.”

According to a knowledgeable source, the security committee of Rafla is preparing a plan to counter the Rafla protests, which have been called for by the National Commission for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed. An official source in Rafla said, “The media has exaggerated the size of this demonstration. … In Rafla, we deal with demonstrations by the unemployed almost on a daily basis, and they have never caused a problem in more than 10 years.” The central government decided to be very strict with any provocation against the police during the demonstration.

A security source said that the number of police officers assigned to the emergency response in Rafla rose to 3,000, most of whom will not appear in the streets in order to avoid provoking the protesters. All the southern provinces have mobilized their police forces and brought reinforcements from neighboring provinces. The heads of state security and the leaders of the National Gendarmerie in five southern provinces — Rafla, Ghardaia, al-Aghwat, Wadi Souf and Illizi — have started preparing emergency plans to confront any possibility.

Our sources revealed that police intelligence have been ordered to monitor the situation around the clock to deal with any eventualities during the demonstrations. According to our sources, the police have been given strict orders to prevent falling into a trap and being dragged toward violence, but they will defend government centers and important economic centers, which will be protected within the framework of a comprehensive security plan.

Found in: unemployment, job opportunities

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