Thursday 6 January 2011
Algiers, Algeria - Rioting youths set fires, smash streetlights and ransack storefronts
6 january 2011 – Rioting youths set fires, smashed streetlights and ransacked storefronts Thursday in the second day of rampages in the Algerian capital over rising food prices and chronic unemployment.
Helicopters circled, stores closed early and security officers blocked off streets in the tense working-class Algiers neighborhood of Bab el-Oued, near the city’s ancient Casbah.
Riots on Wednesday night in the neighborhood saw a police station, a Renault car dealership and other buildings set ablaze. Police with tear gas fired back at stone-throwing youths through the night.
Youths resumed their outbursts Thursday afternoon, smashing storefronts and streetlights in the area. Violence also erupted across town in the El Harrach neighborhood, where youths set tires on fire and threw stones at police. Riot police vans were parked in side streets.
Wednesday’s violence started after evening Muslim prayers. It came after price hikes for milk, sugar and flour in recent days, and amid simmering frustration that Algeria’s abundant gas-and-oil resources have not translated into broader prosperity.
Food price riots also hit Algeria’s Mediterranean city of Oran this week.
Algeria is still recovering from an insurgency that ravaged the country throughout the 1990s after the army canceled 1992 elections that fundamentalists were expected to win. Bab el-Oued is a former stronghold of that group, the now-banned Islamic Salvation Front, or FIS.
“They are right, these young people. They have no job, no housing, no visa (for other countries) and now not even bread or milk,” said Amara Ourab, a resident of the neighborhood in her 50s.
Posted by sysiphus at 15:51