Saturday, April 05, 2014

Bouteflika Rally Attacked

The ailing Abd al-Aziz Bouteflika is seeking a fourth term as president, and will probably get it, fairly or otherwise.  However, in a striking direct assault on his campaign, protestors have forced the cancellation of a rally in Kabylie:
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's camp said it called off an election rally in the Kabylie region of eastern Algeria on Saturday after a television crew and journalists were assaulted.
Anis Rahmani, head of private pro-Bouteflika channel En-Nahar, told AFP that a five-man crew from the station was attacked and four of its journalists were injured, one seriously...
Around 250 people chanting slogans opposed to another Bouteflika term had gathered outside a venue in the Kabylie town of Bejaia where Sellal was to lead a rally, witnesses said.
Some people forced their way into the meeting and attacked the En-Nahar crew who were covering the event with other journalists, they said.
Algiers also recently saw a very small anti-Bouteflika protest of about 40 people.  As it stands, these are probably the sorts of protest brush fires which Algeria sees from time to time over economic concerns, a protest culture which may have inspired the labor activism in southern Tunisia that led directly into the Arab Spring.  Algeria saw little anti-government action in 2010-2011, with the most common explanation being that memories of the brutal civil war which followed the political opening arising from protests at the end of the 1980's have led to concerns of state breakdown trumping those over the corruption of the existing system.



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