View Full Version : Algeria Protests & Solidarity Movements

29 Jan 11,, 04:56
Day of rage spreads

Sat, Jan 29, 2011
New Straits Times

WITH clashes between police and demonstrators in Egypt entering its fourth day yesterday, Algeria experiencing five days of protests, tens of thousands taking to the streets in Yemen, and similar scenes replaying in Jordan and elsewhere, it would appear that what began in Tunisia has started to spread to other parts of North Africa and the Middle East.

To be sure, these countries share the combustible combination of rising prices, widespread poverty, high unemployment, endemic corruption and limited freedoms that ignited the so-called Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia.

There have certainly been cases of self-immolation in Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania similar to that of the young Tunisian who set himself ablaze and sparked the mass demonstrations that led to the overthrow of the 23-year-rule of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Jan 14.

Undoubtedly, from Algeria to Yemen, the protesters have been emboldened and inspired by the Tunisian example.

However, though they may feel very Tunisian in thought and action, as the Twittering and Facebooking class in Cairo which called for the "day of rage" on Tuesday acknowledged, they are all Khaled Sai'ds, too, in reference to the young Egyptian who was beaten to death in Alexandria last June.

King Abdullah II held meetings earlier this week with senior officials, MPs, senators and others as part of efforts to "come closer to the demands of the people," urging them to speed up political and socio-economic reforms.

"It's time for change. People can no longer accept corruption. We do not want a government of aristocrats, merchants and the rich," Said told the demonstrators.

The government has announced it was pumping around 500 million dollars into the economy in a bid to help living conditions, but protests have been staged in Amman and other cities over the past two weeks against high prices.

"We are protesting today to demand genuine reforms that would boost the people's participation in deciding their future," said Abdelhadi Falahat, head of the trade unions' council.

The Islamists and Jordan's 14 trade unions, which group more than 200,000 members, say the government's new measures are inadequate as poverty levels are running at 25 percent in the desert kingdom.

The cost of living in Amman is the highest in the Arab world, according to several independent studies.

Official unemployment is running at about 14 percent in the country of six million people, 70 percent of them under the age of 30. Other estimates put the jobless figure at 30 percent.

Tunisia's popular revolt, which ousted the country's veteran strongman Ben Ali, has inspired dissidents across the Arab world and sparked protests.

In Egypt, riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse tens of thousands of protesters who flooded out of Friday prayers demanding an end to decades of corruption and oppression and the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.
Day of rage spreads (http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asian%2BOpinions/Story/A1Story20110129-261007.html)

29 Jan 11,, 05:12


29 Jan 11,, 09:20