As Riot Cops Quash Protests in Algeria, Citizens Across the Middle East Continue to Organize

Continuing the remarkable thirst for democracy spreading across the Middle East, thousands marched on May 1 Square in Algiers today, protesting their President Abdelaziz Boutefilka. But they were met by a wall of riot cops suited up and sent to squelch them. The New York Times:

The protesters were hemmed in by thousands of riot police and blocked from embarking on a planned march through the capital. Many were arrested, although there were also conflicting numbers for those detained.

A witness said the police had far outnumbered the protesters.

“There was a march of police, not demonstrators,” said a man standing near the square in the afternoon, and who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The marchers had asked to conduct a peaceful march and it was refused. This is how power here acts.”

Like Egypt, Algeria has had a state of emergency imposed upon it for over 20 years. Meanwhile, in countries across the Middle East, citizens continue to organize... and its dictators are acting pre-emptively, whether by calling on the military or making concessions.

Jordan's King Abdullah II fired most of his cabinet two weeks ago and,yesterday, installed new members, including women's rights activist Haifa Abu Ghazaleh. And in Bahrain, the king has announced he will distribute 1000 dinars-- about 2360 dollars -- to each family; he is expected to announce reforms, as well. Protests there are planned for Monday.

Read more at the New York Times.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at February 12, 2011, 6:25am

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