The battle for Algeria’s streets begins: police attack protests as mass strikes sweep country

Protests and strikes demanding the new ‘transitional’ president Abdelkader Bensalah follow Bouteflika out of office are gathering pace across Algeria. On the railways, in the ports, government offices, schools, universities and across large swathes of manufacturing, workers are walking out or going into occupation in solidarity with the continuing demonstrations in major cities demanding that all the key figures associated with the old regime step down.

But the regime is fighting back: police attacked a major student protest outside the Post Office in the capital Algiers on 9 April. Trade union federation COSYFOP condemned the attack on student protesters by security forces and urged workers to join the general strike planned for 10 April: “The strike continues, and we will escalate our action until we win freedom,” the federation said in a statement on Facebook.

Thousands of demonstrators were met again with police water cannons and tear gas on 10 April, but news reports showed large crowds continuing to rally despite the efforts of police to smash the protests. Thousands could also be seen in reports from social media marching in other major cities including Tizi Ouzou, Bouira, Tiaret, Annaba, Blida, Batna, and Tlemcen. School and university students are leading many of the demonstrations, alongside their teachers who have been at the forefront of strike action in recent years.

What you can do:

 

 

  • Send a message of solidarity to trade unions and student unions in Algeria – email menasolidarity@gmail.com and we will pass it on or let you know where to send direct
  • Download a copy of our briefing on teachers’ struggles with a model motion: [Teachers_MENA_2019]