The Algerian Government's Strike Against Democracy

By Ken Mayers, Algeria Country Specialist.

In Algeria, it’s almost proverbial. The term “hogra,” from the Arabic dialect, means contempt, and it has come to designate the face-to-face experience of the state bureaucracy which invariably adds insult to injury to its citizens. In an authoritarian state like Algeria, hogra is a universal given; however, like torture, it is generally savored in private. The rest of the world may hear of it, but can only imagine.

A man gestures towards Algerian police surrounding demonstrators in Algiers on February 19, 2011. (FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images)

This weekend the Algerian government’s attitude of hogra was broadcast to the world. Its contempt for its citizens was shared with the international press and delivered via television and the internet to viewers everywhere. The National Coordination Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD) had announced its march in Algiers on January 21st, to call for an end to the 19-year state of emergency, for democratic freedoms, and for a change in Algeria’s political system. Under the state of emergency, however, such peaceful protests are banned (and will continue to be banned, at least in Algiers, even if the state of emergency is “lifted,” according to President Bouteflika).

In spite of several weeks of discussion and dialogue, the government continued to insist that no demonstration would be allowed, and so on Saturday, the world had the opportunity to witness hogra on a very large scale. It amounted to a general strike against democracy in Algeria. In sporting terms, it was a full-court press. Here’s how it is done:

  1. Shut down the railroads and do not allow trains to enter Algiers.
  2. Block all of the roads into Algiers, and block the major roads between cities throughout Algeria.
  3. Cordon off the districts of Algiers with checkpoints and barricades.
  4. Refuse visas to the international press.
  5. Detain opposition leaders and members of the press, both domestic and international, including Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) leaders Othmane Maazouz and Feta Sadad, Fodil Boumala of the CNCD; for extra points, you can arrest Cherifa Khaddar, president of Djazairouna, twice.
  6. Manhandle and beat protesters, including 90-year-old veteran human rights campaigner Ali Yahia Abdelnour, honorary president of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH); female police officers can do this, too!
  7. Confiscate cameras and video cameras from anyone seen carrying them in the street.
  8. Shut down the internet (especially Facebook)

There is an alternative to this: it’s called democracy. This will require profound and wide-ranging institutional changes in Algeria, as outlined in Amnesty International’s agenda for change (drafted for Tunisia, but quite applicable to Algeria as well). Saturday’s peaceful protests were a small, but significant step in this direction – a point or two, at least, were scored for human rights, and after all is said and done, only the Algerian government was truly dishonored.

As a follow-up to this event, we’re asking everyone to join us in calling on the Algerian authorities to stop the use of excessive force and allow peaceful protests throughout Algeria, including Algiers.

AIUSA welcomes a lively and courteous discussion that follow our Community Guidelines. Comments are not pre-screened before they post but AIUSA reserves the right to remove any comments violating our guidelines.

16 thoughts on “The Algerian Government's Strike Against Democracy

  1. With all this respect, this writer is no expert and seems to be recycling a number of discredited rumours and reports that have been shown to be without foundation.

    To take just two examples – the international press were given visas, there was an enormous foreign press presence in Algiers, a simple check of the numerous articles that they filed to their newspapers confirms this. In fact, if there was any comment on press presence it was that people who had in previous years had been denied visas were given them !

    As for the misreporting about the Internet and Facebook, recycling – without fact checking – an erroneous report from a French-born Algerian freelance reporter based in Europe, who seems to have swallowed rumour as fact, and published claims made by protestors as fact, without taking the trouble to see if the Internet was actually functioning or not (it was, all through the day – as was Twitter, Facebook etc) – false information neither builds a case or bestows expertise.

    Objective reporting requires that we sift and examine claims, not that we uncritically 'get into bed' with various opposition sources and accept their claims without further examination.

    A little further reading of sources, Algerian and otherwise, would have saved these mistakes getting added shelf-life. Incidentally, with only some 13% of Algerians online, how representative of wider Algerian society are the multiplicity of sectional groups airing a random variety of grievances, some 'ethnic', some social, some party political and some 'angry' ?

    Algeria's myriad social and political problems deserve a more nuanced focus than this. This article is partisan, ill-informed, poorly researched and is not a useful contribution to understanding the actuality of events in Algeria.

    OK, a final word – some facts for the 'expert' :

    On press visas:

    Le gouvernement accorde massivement des visas aux journalistes :
    Plus de 40 médias étrangers autorisés pour couvrir la marche du 12 février
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/culture-et-media/plus-

    On the lie – because that is what it was – about the Internet and Facebook, let's see what technical experts and people who took the trouble to check out the veracity of the nonsense being cited by our 'expert' had to say:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/02/watching-algehttp://jilliancyork.com/2011/02/12/the-media-and-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/12/algeria-http://www.stimulatingbroadband.com/2011/02/alger

    Algérie Télécom:

    M’Hamed Dabouz, PDG d’Algérie Télécom : ‘‘nous ne bloquons pas Internet’’
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/divers/m-hamed-dabouz-

  2. With all this respect, this writer is no expert and seems to be recycling a number of discredited rumours and reports that have been shown to be without foundation.

    To take just two examples – the international press were given visas, there was an enormous foreign press presence in Algiers, a simple check of the numerous articles that they filed to their newspapers confirms this. In fact, if there was any comment on press presence it was that people who had in previous years had been denied visas were given them !

    As for the misreporting about the Internet and Facebook, recycling – without fact checking – an erroneous report from a French-born Algerian freelance reporter based in Europe, who seems to have swallowed rumour as fact, and published claims made by protestors as fact, without taking the trouble to see if the Internet was actually functioning or not (it was, all through the day – as was Twitter, Facebook etc) – false information neither builds a case or bestows expertise.

    Objective reporting requires that we sift and examine claims, not that we uncritically 'get into bed' with various opposition sources and accept their claims without further examination.

    A little further reading of sources, Algerian and otherwise, would have saved these mistakes getting added shelf-life. Incidentally, with only some 13% of Algerians online, how representative of wider Algerian society are the multiplicity of sectional groups airing a random variety of grievances, some 'ethnic', some social, some party political and some 'angry' ?

    Algeria's myriad social and political problems deserve a more nuanced focus than this. This article is partisan, ill-informed, poorly researched and is not a useful contribution to understanding the actuality of events in Algeria.

    OK, a final word – some facts for the 'expert' :

    On press visas:

    Le gouvernement accorde massivement des visas aux journalistes :
    Plus de 40 médias étrangers autorisés pour couvrir la marche du 12 février
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/culture-et-media/plus-

    On the lie – because that is what it was – about the Internet and Facebook, let's see what technical experts and people who took the trouble to check out the veracity of the nonsense being cited by our 'expert' had to say:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/02/watching-algehttp://jilliancyork.com/2011/02/12/the-media-and-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/12/algeria-http://www.stimulatingbroadband.com/2011/02/alger

    Algérie Télécom:

    M’Hamed Dabouz, PDG d’Algérie Télécom : ‘‘nous ne bloquons pas Internet’’
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/divers/m-hamed-dabouz-

  3. With all this respect, this writer is no expert and seems to be recycling a number of discredited rumours and reports that have been shown to be without foundation.

    To take just two examples – the international press were given visas, there was an enormous foreign press presence in Algiers, a simple check of the numerous articles that they filed to their newspapers confirms this. In fact, if there was any comment on press presence it was that people who had in previous years had been denied visas were given them !

    As for the misreporting about the Internet and Facebook, recycling – without fact checking – an erroneous report from a French-born Algerian freelance reporter based in Europe, who seems to have swallowed rumour as fact, and published claims made by protestors as fact, without taking the trouble to see if the Internet was actually functioning or not (it was, all through the day – as was Twitter, Facebook etc) – false information neither builds a case or bestows expertise.

    Objective reporting requires that we sift and examine claims, not that we uncritically 'get into bed' with various opposition sources and accept their claims without further examination.

    A little further reading of sources, Algerian and otherwise, would have saved these mistakes getting added shelf-life. Incidentally, with only some 13% of Algerians online, how representative of wider Algerian society are the multiplicity of sectional groups airing a random variety of grievances, some 'ethnic', some social, some party political and some 'angry' ?

    Algeria's myriad social and political problems deserve a more nuanced focus than this. This article is partisan, ill-informed, poorly researched and is not a useful contribution to understanding the actuality of events in Algeria.

    OK, a final word – some facts for the 'expert' :

    On press visas:

    Le gouvernement accorde massivement des visas aux journalistes :
    Plus de 40 médias étrangers autorisés pour couvrir la marche du 12 février
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/culture-et-media/plus-

    On the lie – because that is what it was – about the Internet and Facebook, let's see what technical experts and people who took the trouble to check out the veracity of the nonsense being cited by our 'expert' had to say:
    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/02/watching-algehttp://jilliancyork.com/2011/02/12/the-media-and-http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/12/algeria-http://www.stimulatingbroadband.com/2011/02/alger

    Algérie Télécom:

    M’Hamed Dabouz, PDG d’Algérie Télécom : ‘‘nous ne bloquons pas Internet’’
    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/divers/m-hamed-dabouz-

  4. With all this respect, this writer is no expert and seems to be recycling a number of discredited rumours and reports that have been shown to be without foundation.

    To take just two examples – the international press were given visas, there was an enormous foreign press presence in Algiers, a simple check of the numerous articles that they filed to their newspapers confirms this. In fact, if there was any comment on press presence it was that people who had in previous years had been denied visas were given them !

    As for the misreporting about the Internet and Facebook, recycling – without fact checking – an erroneous report from a French-born Algerian freelance reporter based in Europe, who seems to have swallowed rumour as fact, and published claims made by protestors as fact, without taking the trouble to see if the Internet was actually functioning or not (it was, all through the day – as was Twitter, Facebook etc) – false information neither builds a case or bestows expertise.

    Objective reporting requires that we sift and examine claims, not that we uncritically ‘get into bed’ with various opposition sources and accept their claims without further examination.

    A little further reading of sources, Algerian and otherwise, would have saved these mistakes getting added shelf-life. Incidentally, with only some 13% of Algerians online, how representative of wider Algerian society are the multiplicity of sectional groups airing a random variety of grievances, some ‘ethnic’, some social, some party political and some ‘angry’ ?

    Algeria’s myriad social and political problems deserve a more nuanced focus than this. This article is partisan, ill-informed, poorly researched and is not a useful contribution to understanding the actuality of events in Algeria.

    OK, a final word – some facts for the ‘expert’ :

    On press visas:

    Le gouvernement accorde massivement des visas aux journalistes :
    Plus de 40 médias étrangers autorisés pour couvrir la marche du 12 février

    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/culture-et-media/plus-de-40-medias-etrangers-autorises-pour-couvrir-la-marche-du-12-fevrier_14224.html

    On the lie – because that is what it was – about the Internet and Facebook, let’s see what technical experts and people who took the trouble to check out the veracity of the nonsense being cited by our ‘expert’ had to say:

    http://www.renesys.com/blog/2011/02/watching-algeria.shtml
    http://jilliancyork.com/2011/02/12/the-media-and-the-algerian-internet-rumors/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/12/algeria-internet-not-shut_n_822473.html
    http://www.stimulatingbroadband.com/2011/02/algeria-remains-online-say-cyber.html#

    Algérie Télécom:

    M’Hamed Dabouz, PDG d’Algérie Télécom : ‘‘nous ne bloquons pas Internet’’

    http://www.tsa-algerie.com/divers/m-hamed-dabouz-pdg-d-algerie-telecom-a-tsa-nous-ne-bloquons-pas-internet_14359.html

  5. Now that the lifting of the state of emergency in Algeria has been
    made official by the statement published in the country's official
    gazette, the authorities in Algeria will have the opportunity to give
    the lie to all of the accusations in my blog entry about their
    repressive playbook — starting tomorrow!

    The National Coordination Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD)
    has called for a demonstration in Algiers tomorrow (Saturday, 26
    February 2011). Amnesty International, like President Obama, "looks
    forward to additional steps by the Algerian government to enable the
    populace to exercise rights of expression, association and assembly."

  6. Now that the lifting of the state of emergency in Algeria has been
    made official by the statement published in the country’s official
    gazette, the authorities in Algeria will have the opportunity to give
    the lie to all of the accusations in my blog entry about their
    repressive playbook — starting tomorrow!

    The National Coordination Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD)
    has called for a demonstration in Algiers tomorrow (Saturday, 26
    February 2011). Amnesty International, like President Obama, “looks
    forward to additional steps by the Algerian government to enable the
    populace to exercise rights of expression, association and assembly.”

  7. I don't know if there is a 'someone' beyond the use of articles that contain errors (often supplied to media by opposition groups of various kinds), which influences your analysis, but the following points also apply.

    Your 'full court press' is inaccurate as it conflates events and measures taken during TWO protests and implies that they were things that occurred during the last one. For example, Ali Yahia Abdelnour was NOT manhandled during the second protest, but he was indeed shamefully manhandled during the first. Traffic was circulating in Algiers during the second protest, as restrictions were much lighter than those imposed during the first one. SOME railway traffic was disrupted, not all of it. SOME roads had checkpoints in addition to usual security measures, but not all of them. No towns or cities were cut off from each other. It is a well-known question of geography that dicatates where Saïd Sadi's support base is, and so it was routes from Kabylia that saw the most stringent of checkpoints and 'denial of travel' to his imported political supporters. And of course, he did not attend the second protest himself, his passport having been either stolen in Paris, or torn up by himself in Paris, according to which media you read. That saved us a repeat of his boastful claims of '15,000 on the first march, with 1,500 arrests, including 500 women' – figures that must have made others in the CNCD snort with derision and blush with embarrassment when they read them in Western media, where Sadi likes to do most of his pontificating.

    And of course the CNCD has itself fractured in recent days, the 'human rights' supporting element quite rightly objecting to the attempts by Saïd Sadi and other 'politicians' to assert leadership roles in a fledgling populist movement. The wiser heads in the CNCD know perfectly well that they have nothing approaching a mass movement, that work must be done to initiate a genuine national debate about human rights issues, and that this is a process that demands time. Attempts to hijack such a debate and shackle it to the political ambitions of the Saïd Sadis of the world would not be in any Algerian's interest. So it is not the 'full' CNCD which is going to attempt a march later today, it is the 'politicos' wing' that is doing that. And trust me, Saïd Sadi is not a 'leader of the Algerian masses' by any stretch of the imagination, and we can all be thankful for that.

    I don't know if Amnesty International operates like the CIA, 'getting down with a few homies in the hood' and assuming that this small tick list of informants genuinely reflects national sentiment (trade unionists, check, journalists, check, women's groups, check, honchos from opposition parties, check, assortment of human rights activists, check, a few spotty adolescents who post furiously on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc, check….), but there is a danger in diving into such a small goldfish bowl in a nation of over 39,000,000 people. Activists can be very egotistical, a few recent names in the media have been conspicuous by their absence from any visible activism all in recent years but shove a reporter on the street and they are all Che Guevaras – at least in their own minds and in those of any journalist foolish enough to 'go native' with fact checking.

    I understand that in many Western nations parades and marches are not allowed without permission, that certain areas can be declared 'off limits' to such manifestations etc. Having seen thousands of Algerians running screaming through their own streets after bomb attacks that killed and injured hundreds in recent years, I can understand why the Algerian state holds to the view that it should have some control over the 'wheres' of assemblies, but that is just my opinion and no doubt there will be others who argue for an 'anything goes' kind of line, irrespective of the realities of terrorist outrages in Algiers. However, it might be more sage to consider carefully the most fundamental of human rights – the right to life – when balancing security concerns against freedom of expression. Algerians and international workers in Algiers paid a high price for want of strict security in the capital and it would be a foolish person who denied that there is still a substantial terrorist presence and threat in Algeria.

    I commend anyone who genuinely strives for human rights, in Algeria or anywhere else, but would urge external support groups to be very careful about uncritically accepting allegations (or statistics for that matter) from 'activists' within and without Algeria. Or at least preface such claims with 'according to' or point out that the versions of events offered are, in fact, contested. Quite apart from providing greater clarity, to do that also eliminates the possibility of genuine on-the-ground activists being branded as 'foreign stooges' because any Algerian being shown an article like this KNOWS that it is riddled with inaccuracies. There ARE many social and political problems requiring urgent solutions in Algeria, throwing people onto the streets so that Saïd Sadi can pretend to the world that they are his 'followers' won't solve any of them. Activists boast, activists exaggerate their own importance, activists can provide a partisan or distorted analysis and activists can also – brace yourself – lie. There are tens of millions of Algerians facing problems of various kinds each day, in the cacophony of voices competing to secure political advantage during these times of heightened tension we would all be wise to consider what kind of a 'shopping list' is required by all of Algeria's people to enable them to live in peace and dignity.

  8. I don’t know if there is a ‘someone’ beyond the use of articles that contain errors (often supplied to media by opposition groups of various kinds), which influences your analysis, but the following points also apply.

    Your ‘full court press’ is inaccurate as it conflates events and measures taken during TWO protests and implies that they were things that occurred during the last one. For example, Ali Yahia Abdelnour was NOT manhandled during the second protest, but he was indeed shamefully manhandled during the first. Traffic was circulating in Algiers during the second protest, as restrictions were much lighter than those imposed during the first one. SOME railway traffic was disrupted, not all of it. SOME roads had checkpoints in addition to usual security measures, but not all of them. No towns or cities were cut off from each other. It is a well-known question of geography that dicatates where Saïd Sadi’s support base is, and so it was routes from Kabylia that saw the most stringent of checkpoints and ‘denial of travel’ to his imported political supporters. And of course, he did not attend the second protest himself, his passport having been either stolen in Paris, or torn up by himself in Paris, according to which media you read. That saved us a repeat of his boastful claims of ’15,000 on the first march, with 1,500 arrests, including 500 women’ – figures that must have made others in the CNCD snort with derision and blush with embarrassment when they read them in Western media, where Sadi likes to do most of his pontificating.

    And of course the CNCD has itself fractured in recent days, the ‘human rights’ supporting element quite rightly objecting to the attempts by Saïd Sadi and other ‘politicians’ to assert leadership roles in a fledgling populist movement. The wiser heads in the CNCD know perfectly well that they have nothing approaching a mass movement, that work must be done to initiate a genuine national debate about human rights issues, and that this is a process that demands time. Attempts to hijack such a debate and shackle it to the political ambitions of the Saïd Sadis of the world would not be in any Algerian’s interest. So it is not the ‘full’ CNCD which is going to attempt a march later today, it is the ‘politicos’ wing’ that is doing that. And trust me, Saïd Sadi is not a ‘leader of the Algerian masses’ by any stretch of the imagination, and we can all be thankful for that.

    I don’t know if Amnesty International operates like the CIA, ‘getting down with a few homies in the hood’ and assuming that this small tick list of informants genuinely reflects national sentiment (trade unionists, check, journalists, check, women’s groups, check, honchos from opposition parties, check, assortment of human rights activists, check, a few spotty adolescents who post furiously on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc, check….), but there is a danger in diving into such a small goldfish bowl in a nation of over 39,000,000 people. Activists can be very egotistical, a few recent names in the media have been conspicuous by their absence from any visible activism all in recent years but shove a reporter on the street and they are all Che Guevaras – at least in their own minds and in those of any journalist foolish enough to ‘go native’ with fact checking.

    I understand that in many Western nations parades and marches are not allowed without permission, that certain areas can be declared ‘off limits’ to such manifestations etc. Having seen thousands of Algerians running screaming through their own streets after bomb attacks that killed and injured hundreds in recent years, I can understand why the Algerian state holds to the view that it should have some control over the ‘wheres’ of assemblies, but that is just my opinion and no doubt there will be others who argue for an ‘anything goes’ kind of line, irrespective of the realities of terrorist outrages in Algiers. However, it might be more sage to consider carefully the most fundamental of human rights – the right to life – when balancing security concerns against freedom of expression. Algerians and international workers in Algiers paid a high price for want of strict security in the capital and it would be a foolish person who denied that there is still a substantial terrorist presence and threat in Algeria.

    I commend anyone who genuinely strives for human rights, in Algeria or anywhere else, but would urge external support groups to be very careful about uncritically accepting allegations (or statistics for that matter) from ‘activists’ within and without Algeria. Or at least preface such claims with ‘according to’ or point out that the versions of events offered are, in fact, contested. Quite apart from providing greater clarity, to do that also eliminates the possibility of genuine on-the-ground activists being branded as ‘foreign stooges’ because any Algerian being shown an article like this KNOWS that it is riddled with inaccuracies. There ARE many social and political problems requiring urgent solutions in Algeria, throwing people onto the streets so that Saïd Sadi can pretend to the world that they are his ‘followers’ won’t solve any of them. Activists boast, activists exaggerate their own importance, activists can provide a partisan or distorted analysis and activists can also – brace yourself – lie. There are tens of millions of Algerians facing problems of various kinds each day, in the cacophony of voices competing to secure political advantage during these times of heightened tension we would all be wise to consider what kind of a ‘shopping list’ is required by all of Algeria’s people to enable them to live in peace and dignity.

  9. Just before 10am this morning and it was Saïd 'The Pied Piper' Sadi and a few dozen of his supporters – the founding members of the CNCD LADDH, Snapap, CLA, Satef, SOS Disparus and Algérie Pacifique having decided not to participate in today's attempted march, preferring instead to embark on a national consultation and education exercise before organising marches in various places next month. Just as one would need to be sure where a bus was going before getting on it, be careful not to confuse Saïd Sadi – who still styles today's effort a CNCD march – with the other 'civil society' wing of the splintered movement, which actually does contain human rights activists. It would be a shame if Amnesty International, by a confused reading of Algeria and Algerian society, actually pressed on with repeating Saïd Sadi propaganda and totally lost the plot. It has to be said that the lack of objectivity and fact checking in this article does not reflect well on the professionalism Amnesty International ought to be aspiring to. The danger of assuming that the agenda of a political party is somehow representative of a wider effort to achieve human rights goes without saying – please try to consult 'neutral' Algerian sources carefully and understand the implications of the schism with CNCD that occurred in the last few days. Otherwise Amnesty International risks becoming a mouthpiece for individuals whose utterances do not always stand up to scrutiny. I am assuming that you mean well – if so, please take more care to reflect realities, not partisan propaganda.

    At this time RCD deputy Mohamed Khendek has been injured by police and has been taken to hospital, and shops which were attempting to operate 'business as usual' are lowering their shutters……

  10. High noon in Algiers, Saïd Sadi and Ali Yahia Abdenour abandoned their effort and they and a few dozen followers have left la Place des Martyrs. Sadi couldn't muster enough followers to stage even a scaled down re-run of Thermopylae, such is the level of his support. One injured RCD Deputy, one journalist with France 24 alleges he was assaulted by police, one passionate speech from Ali Yahia Abdenour before the assembled dozens in which he declared that they would keep on turning up to march on Saturdays 'until the régime falls' – and that was it. It is to be hoped that other efforts aimed at educating and encouraging Algerians to effectively campaign for their rights will be more fruitful.

  11. Just before 10am this morning and it was Saïd ‘The Pied Piper’ Sadi and a few dozen of his supporters – the founding members of the CNCD LADDH, Snapap, CLA, Satef, SOS Disparus and Algérie Pacifique having decided not to participate in today’s attempted march, preferring instead to embark on a national consultation and education exercise before organising marches in various places next month. Just as one would need to be sure where a bus was going before getting on it, be careful not to confuse Saïd Sadi – who still styles today’s effort a CNCD march – with the other ‘civil society’ wing of the splintered movement, which actually does contain human rights activists. It would be a shame if Amnesty International, by a confused reading of Algeria and Algerian society, actually pressed on with repeating Saïd Sadi propaganda and totally lost the plot. It has to be said that the lack of objectivity and fact checking in this article does not reflect well on the professionalism Amnesty International ought to be aspiring to. The danger of assuming that the agenda of a political party is somehow representative of a wider effort to achieve human rights goes without saying – please try to consult ‘neutral’ Algerian sources carefully and understand the implications of the schism with CNCD that occurred in the last few days. Otherwise Amnesty International risks becoming a mouthpiece for individuals whose utterances do not always stand up to scrutiny. I am assuming that you mean well – if so, please take more care to reflect realities, not partisan propaganda.

    At this time RCD deputy Mohamed Khendek has been injured by police and has been taken to hospital, and shops which were attempting to operate ‘business as usual’ are lowering their shutters……

  12. High noon in Algiers, Saïd Sadi and Ali Yahia Abdenour abandoned their effort and they and a few dozen followers have left la Place des Martyrs. Sadi couldn’t muster enough followers to stage even a scaled down re-run of Thermopylae, such is the level of his support. One injured RCD Deputy, one journalist with France 24 alleges he was assaulted by police, one passionate speech from Ali Yahia Abdenour before the assembled dozens in which he declared that they would keep on turning up to march on Saturdays ‘until the régime falls’ – and that was it. It is to be hoped that other efforts aimed at educating and encouraging Algerians to effectively campaign for their rights will be more fruitful.

  13. "Activists can be very egotistical" ?

    & so ?

    They're human, aren't they ?

    & governments ?

    As the great reporter I. F. Stone found, all governments are liars.

    Sure, a just movement may not always / easily field a mass base.

    THAT doesn't mean its cause or its position & demands are not just.

    But a state of emergency running for 19 YEARS ?? !!

    Something's very, very wrong here.

    & if a repressive regime's supporters use the scare of "terrorism" as its justification, something's very, very wrong with them too, whatever THEIR mass base.

  14. “Activists can be very egotistical” ?

    & so ?

    They’re human, aren’t they ?

    & governments ?

    As the great reporter I. F. Stone found, all governments are liars.

    Sure, a just movement may not always / easily field a mass base.

    THAT doesn’t mean its cause or its position & demands are not just.

    But a state of emergency running for 19 YEARS ?? !!

    Something’s very, very wrong here.

    & if a repressive regime’s supporters use the scare of “terrorism” as its justification, something’s very, very wrong with them too, whatever THEIR mass base.