Thursday, February 24, 2011

Algeria President Bouteflika Responds to Opposition While Strikes Continue

Bouteflika’s response to his opponents

ennahar 24 February, 2011 12:20:00

Unlike other Arab regimes, in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya, who have faced a wave of violent protests and demands for political and social change, President Bouteflika, who is very aware of the aspirations of Algerian youth, responds to opposition claim by taking steps to appease the social front.

By the measures taken at the council of minister before yesterday, President Bouteflika has proved, despite the harsh criticism he has received, he was different from former Egyptian and Tunisian presidents, respectively Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali, who had done nothing to calm the anger of their citizens. Bouteflika is also different from the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who responded to his people by fierce repression to maintain power.

The first step taken by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was the lifting of the state of emergency imposed since 1993, in response to demand from organizations of human rights, political parties and trade unions who saw this as a barrier to political liberties.

In addition, new measures to benefit the youth by the cancellation of interest on loans for young people and the ease in obtaining housing, granting of credits by banks, are a message to all the protesters who came out to ask for housing or work.

These measures come after those taken in response to riots against high living costs and rising food prices.

President Bouteflika, by these measures would have given a lesson in democracy to his detractors who are out in the streets to demand his departure, and even Arab leaders, facing the wrath of the street who have responded with repression and force.

Housing distribution before the end of June

President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika has ordered the distribution of housing completed in a fair and transparent manner before the end of June.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has already begun implementing the decisions of the president of the republic. Minister Noureddine Moussa services, according to informed sources, began preparing the texts in this direction and the conditions for social housing in order to facilitate access for youth category.

Completed housing will be distributed before the end of next June from March. Nearly 242,000 homes will be distributed all forms together in 2011, including 19,000 rural homes, 90,000 social homes and 31,000 Promotional homes (LSP).

Algeria facing series of strikes

ennahar 22 February, 2011 06:38:00

ALGIERS - Algeria is facing series of strikes that affected areas usually of little protest, as Justice, with a movement of clerks which entered its sixth day Tuesday, according to the press.

Last to disengage, municipal workers began on Monday a three-day strike to demand the creation of a special status and an appreciation of their benefits system.

According to the National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP), the strike is followed by 65% of the staff concerned, but with a low rate in Algiers because of "pressures" from the administration.

In support of such claims, the clerks have triggered a strike on February 16 that "paralyzed" the courts where many cases have been reported.

The Department of Justice uses bailiffs to replace them in some jurisdictions, angering lawyers. They have decided to boycott the hearings.

In addition, the paramedics continued Tuesday an "open" strike started on February 8 and resulting in work stoppages of 30 minutes to an hour every day with rallies in hospitals.

The wave of protest has also affected the university elite with a student strike of the major engineering schools who have been asking for weeks for the repeal of an official decree that they consider demeaning for their diplomas.

This text aligns the engineering degree on that of Master 2 (bac +5) awarded by universities, while Algeria has established the LMD system (Licence, Master, PhD).

On Monday, police dispersed a rally of protesters before the Ministry of Higher Education in Algiers, causing at least one injured.

In Annaba, the industrial metropolis of eastern Algeria, seven unemployed self-mutilated themselves on the roof of the prefecture at a gathering of young people to seek work. An unemployed man was knocked unconscious by slashing his chest and was evacuated to hospital by emergency preparedness.

Ennaharonline/ M. O.

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