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By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

4/22/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Frustrated college students clash with security forces in commemoration of nation's 'Black Spring'

Dozens of people have been injured in riots at Tizi Ouzo, which is east of the capital of Algiers in Algeria. The unrest erupted after 77-year-old Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected for a fourth term.

The unrest that has been swirling around the region in the Berber-speaking area of Tizi-Ouzou is reason for concern among the local population.

The unrest that has been swirling around the region in the Berber-speaking area of Tizi-Ouzou is reason for concern among the local population.

Highlights

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Tizi Ouzo, unrest, riots, Black Spring


ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - The unrest comes during the commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the Black Spring in 2001. In that incident, 127 young people were killed in violent riots.

Security forces this past weekend prevented a Tizi-Ouzou University student march. Frustrated, angry students throwing stones clashed with riot police. In Tizi Ouzou's downtown, security forces clamped down on any attempts to mark "Black Spring," which is known here as "Tafsuth Imazighen."

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One reason behind the demonstrations is for the government to formalize the Tamazight language. Fights broke out in 2001 when angry youths pelted paramilitary gendarmes after the death of a young student, Guermah Massinissa, in Beni Douala, near the Tizi-Ouzou district. The gendarmes replied by firing tear gas and water cannons before they resorted to the use of real bullets.

The unrest that has been swirling around the region in the Berber-speaking area of Tizi-Ouzou is reason for concern among the local population. The risk of violence spilled into other Algerian regions remains fresh in the minds of those who remember the massacre of 2001. 

In the meantime, the Algerian government is urging the population in Kabylia to remain calm. The situation is growing more confused as youths are reinforcing the protesters ranks.

"The situation is worsening as youths are fighting without a real objective," Hamid Akar a student in the Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou says.

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