Algerian doctors, academics protest against grants freeze

Algerian Parliament [Wikipedia]

Professors, doctors and researchers from numerous Algerian universities protested outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Algiers yesterday to condemn the recent decision to freeze grants related to scientific research and academic visits abroad.

A petition has also been signed by more than 100 researchers appealing to the Minister for Higher Education, Tahir Hajjar, to urgently intervene to prevent a significant delay in the grant of a national exchange programme for 2017/2018.

Many tried to contact officials from the Ministry of Higher Education to learn the fate of the national programme and the coming academic year but no explanations were given.

A number of researchers told Algerian news site Echourouk that the vigil was an inevitable result of the decisions taken by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research concerning the freezing of grants and travel exchange programmes that qualify them to gain new experiences for their research within the latest global study trends.

Related: Dental students in Algeria continue hunger strike

According to Echourouk, ministry officials were “surprised” at the meeting of student representatives arguing that the ministry had allocated a “safe” scientific research budget.

However protestors have questioned the fate of those funds and financial wrappers allocated to them, asking the minister to open an investigation into the allocation of the funds.

Algeria has seen uproar in the last few months amongst its students and professors demanding a more transparent education system with better opportunities for its students and greater funding and schemes for its researchers and academics.

(Source / 13.03.2017)

Dental students in Algeria continue hunger strike

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria [DR]

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria

Dozens of Algerian dental students are continuing their hunger strike, which they began on Tuesday, as part of a national coordinated effort to pressure the government to tackle the issue of shortages of residences, the absence of internships and calls for better quality training.

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria [DR]

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria

A dozen students in the northern city of Tizi Ouzou have volunteered to carry out the radical action with the hopes of seeing the government consider their demands more seriously.

The student hunger strikers gathered in tents set up in the courtyard of the Faculty of Medicine located opposite the Hasnaoua campus of the Mouloud Mammeri University.

Banners at the entrance of the university read: “Students on hunger strike” and “three months of strikes for legitimate demands, no response and no commitment but repression”.

The action comes a week after over a thousand dental students from around the region took part in a national march in the city. The demonstrators denounced the police repression of students at a similar gathering in Algiers last week where students were prevented from demonstrating and taken away on buses by authorities.

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria [DR]

Dental students go on hunger strike in Algeria

The students reaffirmed they would maintain their mobilisation until their demands, which have been ongoing since the beginning of the protest movement in December last year, are met.

Pharmacy and dental surgery students have been previously received by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal who has affirmed that the “main concerns of the majority of students are taken over by the high authorities”.

“We have only promises. We wanted something concrete. We have nothing at all,” one protesting pharmacy student explained.

(Source / 09.03.2017)

Tensions between Algeria and Morocco at Arab League

Image of the 147th session of the Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt on 7 March 2017 [Ahmed Gamil/Anadolu Agency]

Image of the 147th session of the Arab League Council for foreign ministers in Cairo, Egypt on 7 March 2017

Algeria rejected calls for Morocco’s return to the African Union to be hailed in the Arab League on Sunday, a diplomatic source said.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Nadir Arbaoui refused the proposal of his Moroccan counterpart to enlist hailing Morocco’s return to the African Union to the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Arab League prime ministers.

The diplomat told the Anadolu Agency that a verbal skirmish erupted between the two representatives that resulted in ending the meeting and raised the issue to the prime ministers themselves.

Read: Has the Arab League ever actually done anything for the Arabs?

In January, the African Union officially accepted Morocco’s return after three decades of its withdrawal as it protested against the union’s acceptance of the membership of the Polisario group, which calls for separating the Western Sahara from Morocco.

The issue of the Western Sahara has led to increased tensions between Algeria and Morocco since the middle of the 1990s.

(Source / 07.03.2017)

Algerian president reiterates support for Polisario Front

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his ballot in the legislative elections on May 10, 2012 [Magharebia / Flickr]

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika casts his ballot in the legislative elections on May 10, 2012

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has reiterated his country’s keenness to continue to support the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination and independence.

In a letter addressed to the head of the Polisario Front, Ibrahim Ghali, on the occasion of the 41st anniversary of the unilateral founding of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), Bouteflika called on the international community to assume its responsibility and resolve the Western Sahara dispute through a UN referendum.

“The international community has an obligation to carry out its responsibility and to accelerate the creation of a legitimate solution to this case within the framework of the UN in order to enable the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination” the president told Ghali. “I reiterate to you Algeria’s support and endorsement, and I assure you that we will continue to strive to help the Saharawi people to realise their right to self-determination through a free and impartial referendum under the auspices of the UN.”

Thembisa Fakude: Why did Morocco decide to join the African Union?

The UN, Algeria and Mauritania have been supervising negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario Front in search of a solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara. Spain’s colonial administration of the territory ended in 1976. Fighting later broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, who both signed a ceasefire agreement in 1991.

While Morocco claims ownership of the Western Sahara, the Polisario Front has proposed a self-determination referendum to decide the region’s fate. The Polisario proposal is supported by neighbouring Algeria.

(Source / 27.02.2017)

Algerian President: Algeria Will Overcome All Challenges and Difficulties

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika REUTERS/Louafi Larbi

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gestures during a swearing-in ceremony in Algiers April 28, 2014

Algiers – President of the Republic Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on Saturday that the country was able to achieve national unity and inclusive reconciliation. He called on the Algerian people to go massively to the polls in the legislative elections of May 4.

On the occasion of the National Day of the Martyr, Mohamed Ali Boughazi, Bouteflika’s advisor, read a message on behalf of the president in which he said that Algeria will overcome all challenges and difficulties, adding that the Algerian youths are aware and will not follow those who want to destabilize the country and spread strife.

“As we are celebrating our country’s glorious history on this National Martyr Day, our people are getting ready for the legislative elections to vote for their representatives at the People’s National Assembly, and I seize this opportunity to call on the children of our country to exert their right to choose their deputies by going massively to the polls,” Bouteflika added.

The president reiterated that the Algerian people’s free and sovereign choice will be respected within the framework of the Constitution and Law.

He added that the sovereignty, right to preside our country, and freedom of individuals]cdfr are the fruit of heavy sacrifices made by one and a half million martyrs who died in order for Algeria to live and its people enjoy the benefits of liberty and independence.

Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis, President of Talaïe El Hourriyet, also spoke on the occasion of Martyr Day during a ceremony organized by the Territorial Party Office in Oran.

Benlfis said that if the martyr returned today he would be overwhelmed with anguish at the sight of Algeria and he would be in despite to see that freedoms are not achieved.

“If the martyr came back to us today, he would be in despair, he who has never despaired, to see that rights, freedoms and citizenship of which he sacrificed his life to impose in our country, are not achieved,” Benlfis stated.

Benflis, who opposes Bouteflika, said that even in 21st century, Algeria is still an archaic country and hasn’t developed economically or socially.

He stressed that: “If the martyr came back to us, today he would have many reasons to regret and anguish the unfortunate fate of our country.”

(Source / 19.02.2017)

Algeria introduces censorship of imported books

Algerian Parliament [Wikipedia]

Algerian Parliament

Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal has signed an executive order placing government censorship on imported books, especially those concerning the country’s liberation revolution (1954-1962) against French colonialism, Anadolu news agency has reported.

According to the decree, which was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday, book importers should submit a list of books – both printed and electronic publications – to the ministry of culture for approval before they can be distributed. The law applies to books printed abroad and destined for sale, public reading or donation in Algeria. Two copies of each book must be submitted to the ministry prior to distribution; officials will then decide whether to allow them to be in Algeria or ban them.

Books dealing with Algerian history, especially those imported from France, often cause a lot of controversy.

The decree comes a few days after the issue of another executive order placing conditions on the import of religious books and imprints of the Qur’an, which require importers to obtain prior permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

(Source / 01.02.2017)

Algerian Government might Suspend Opposition Parties Boycotting the Elections


A prolonged boycott by MPs could delay president Bouteflika’s promised constitutional reforms due this year

Algiers – Minister of Interior and Local Authorities Noureddine Bedoui announced that the Algerian government could suspend the opposition parties which threatened to boycott the parliamentary elections. Ali Benflis’ party objected statements of the minister saying that these statements are the government’s attempt to control the political life in the country.

Earlier, Bedoui announced that the opposition’s decision to boycott elections is a dangerous deviation and violation of the parties’ right to choose their own political aspirations.

Ahmed Adimi, spokesperson of Talaie el-Hourriyet led by Benflis, said that these statements are rejected. Yet, he added, that what the minister said didn’t come as a surprise because they speak of political regime that is “only creative and in suppressing freedoms and subdue political and civil rights.”

The Minister of Interior criticized the parties that decided to boycott elections claiming that it is already settled for the parties loyal to the government. Bedoui challenged those who doubt the integrity of the elections in May saying they are trying to change the regime with another Arab Spring, which the Algerian government view as a failure and chaotic.

Adimi wished the government used those creative methods in getting Algeria out of this political block and eliminate dangers that threaten the country.

The spokesperson criticized the authorities saying this political system is original in finding a new scapegoat to blame for its own failures and fiascos. He urged the officials to get back to their senses, stressing that the next legislative polls, which the government is so keen on holding, is not up to the concerns of those who are anxious about matters that threaten the state.

The Algerian opposition impugns the credibility of the government’s reforms launched by President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in 2011, and ended in 2016 with the amendment of the constitution.

The opposition views these reforms as the regime’s guarantee to continue ruling.

Adimi said that the government is only good at threatening the opposition. He added that political parties are not a charity work from the government to the people, but rather a constitutional right which Algeria committed to when it agreed to international treaties including the International Declaration for Human Rights.

(Source / 19.01.2017)

Algeria disbands ‘Israeli spy ring’

Algeria disbands 'Israeli spy ring'

Authorities said the individuals arrested were from various African nationalities

Algerian security forces say they have uncovered an Israeli spy ring operating in the south of the country and arrested ten people on Friday, according to local media reports.

Algerian authorities busted a suspected espionage network working for Israel on Friday, local media reported.

Security forces said ten members of the spy cell were arrested in Ghardaia Province on Friday, according to Algeria’s Annahar newspaper.

Authorities said the individuals arrested were from various African countries, including Libya, Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya and Liberia.

The suspects were under investigation in order to establish the reason for their presence in Algeria.

The spy ring used sophisticated telecommunication and visual devices to spy on Algeria’s security force, el-Biladi daily reported, adding that a CD containing Hebrew text was found in their possession.

In recent years, African states arrested and imprisoned several individuals on charges of spying for Israel.

Last month, Tunisia reported that an aviation engineer specialised in drones was murdered in the city of Sfax by foreigners.

Many claimed Mohamed Zaouari’s death was the result of an assassination carried out by Israel’s foreign intelligence agency Mossad due to the engineer’s alleged ties with Palestinian movement Hamas.

Tunisian authorities said they were closely investigating the case and that the assassination could have been carried out by foreign agents.

(Source / 17.01.2017)

Algeria announces state of emergency on Tunisia border

Algeria sign post

Algerian authorities announced a state of emergency on its borders with Tunisia yesterday, after reports that about 800 Tunisians were returning from conflict zones emerged, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Algerian authorities took intensified security measures in Al-Maa Al-Abyad and Al-Koweef districts across the 1,000 kilometre border. The Algerians placed monitoring cameras for vehicles and people, in addition to sitting up 20 observation points.

Commenting on the situation, security expert Faisal Al-Sharif told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed: “The wave of social protests, which have surged in Algeria recently due to the price hikes and a new budget, were the main reason behind the announcement of the state of emergency.”

He added: “The Algerian government fears these protests will expand and so they caused security problems,” noting that “terrorists” use such opportunities to carry out “terrorist attacks.”

Al-Sharif also said that the return of some “terrorists” from “battlefields” to Tunisia aggravated problems in the country and pushed the Algerian authorities “to take such a decision to protect its eastern borders.”

The security expert pointed out that certain countries are interested in causing insecurity in Algeria. He noted that Algeria’s borders with Morocco are already closed, while the state of emergency along the borders with Libya have been in place for years due to the civil war.

Meanwhile, Tunisian authorities said that they would follow up on and place under surveillance Tunisians returning back from war zones after having travelled there to fight with various extremist groups, including Daesh.

Tunisian Defence Minister Farhat Horchani said on Thursday that “there is cooperation with Algeria regarding action against terror.”

(Source / 08.01.2017)

Fears on ‘Arab Spring’ Seeping into Algeria


Riot policemen push back anti-government protesters during a demonstration in Algiers February 19, 2011

Algeria- Seven years ago, a regional wave of protests to topple authoritarian regimes in the Arab world came to be known as the ‘Arab Spring.’

The same popular uprisings against corruption in power have become a great threat to order in the North African state Algeria.

Algeria’s government loudly sounded its concerns following street protests that witnessed acts of arson and vandalism of public and private property.

Imams across the nation have complied with the government’s request on delivering a Friday speech which raises awareness on the down side to compromising national security. Imams are the religious priests which not only lead prayers at mosques but also deliver speeches concerning the Muslim community.

All Imams had received a statement from the Ministry of Religious Affairs on Thursday night which gave a number of directives that strongly stress the importance of security and stability, also as a core principal to Sharia law, and a religious duty that falls upon all citizens.

The directives relayed to national Mosques keep in line with the strong language used by Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal when commenting on the protests ripping through eastern provinces on Monday and Tuesday.

Speaking during a ceremony for the 2015 copyrights fee payments at the Culture Palace in Algiers, the Premier said that “unknown parties are behind the recent protests that occurred in some regions of the country, notably in Bejaia, and which try to destabilize the country.”

In his first remarks since the outbreak of these protests, Sellal said that “Algeria is a stable country,” and that “any attempts to destabilize it will not be successful,” adding that these protests “are not related to the Arab Spring.”

The State “will block any attempt aiming the destabilization of Algeria,” he underscored.

Describing those incidents as “positive lessons” which will incite his government to work more, the minister welcomed the position taken by the Algerian youth and families, and the reactions of the organizations and the political parties-from all tendencies- which have shown “political maturity during these incidents.”

(Source / 07.01.2017)