Algeria: Live ammo used to suppress protest in border town


Algeria’s military forces have injured a number of protesters and killed one when live ammunition was used in the border town of Tinzaouatine, in the region of Tamanrasset.

Sources of the Algiers Herald on the ground have confirmed what has been reported earlier in national media outlets. According to reports received by our newsroom, the protesters had come out to demand better living conditions, including access to fresh water, which had been restricted for some time.

The victim has been identified as Ayoub, an 18 years old teenager. Although the army promptly denied murdering the teenager, its version of events does not stick with what has since emerged on social media. Videos of the scene show a number of soldiers circling the unresponsive victim laying on the ground. The inhabitants of the very remote town also took to social media to deny the fake allegations made by the army, which had stated that the teenager was part of a criminal gang. It should be noted that it has become standard practice for the army or the police forces to deny any wrongdoing as soon as abuses are publicised. According to the inhabitants of the town, the protests they were taking part in was a peaceful protest and their sole demand was that the authorities allow them access to a nearby river, an essential water supply cut off from the inhabitants last year.

The 18 years old victim identified as Ayoub.

According to witness testimonies, rubber bullets were also used. Over the weekend, a number of arrests were operated by the Algerian secret service across the country, fearing a return of the pro-democracy protests that have been suspended because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Algerians came out in February 2019 to demand radical change and have been protesting since on a weekly basis, up until the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result, the military junta in power took advantage of the pandemic to settles scores with pro-democracy activists through arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment and so on. For the majority of Algerians, the current army-appointed president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, whose own son was jailed in relation to cocaine trafficking, is only more of the same. Appointed by defunct army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been struggling to address his lack of legitimacy.

According to political analysts, the regime, confronted with a peaceful revolutionary movement, is seeking to provoke the protesters into engaging in violence in order to destabilise the country and tighten its grip on power.