Algerian MPs object to shale gas bill

Algerian lawmakers expressed opposition to shale gas bill while protestors clashed with police leaving 40 policeman injured

Algerian MPs object to shale gas bill

World Bulletin / News Desk

Islamic lawmakers on Monday expressed opposition to a draft law regulating shale gas exploration and the "suppression of freedoms" in Algeria at a session of parliament attended by Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal.

The lawmakers voiced opposition to the draft law as Sellal and members of his cabinet entered the assembly to attend the first meeting of parliament's new spring session.

MPs that led opposition to the bill belonged to "Green Algeria," an Islamic coalition comprising three political parties and including 49 lawmakers.

There are a total of 462 lawmakers in Algeria's parliament.

Islamic lawmakers carried banners bearing slogans critical of shale gas exploration in the country's south.

They also protested what they described as the recent "suppression" of peaceful rallies against shale gas exploration.

Late Sunday, at least 40 policemen were hurt in clashes with protesters opposed to planned shale gas exploration in southern Algeria, according to the Interior Ministry.

"The southern town of Ain Salah saw riots by youths opposed to shale gas exploration in the region," the ministry said in a late Sunday statement.

"Unfortunately, the [riots] left 40 policemen injured, including two who are in serious condition," it added, noting that a number of police buildings had also been torched.

According to the ministry statement, calm was restored in the town after security forces "contained" the situation.

Local activist Taqi Abdel-Rahman told The Anadolu Agency earlier that at least 20 people had been hurt in similar clashes in Tamanrasset, which is also in southern Algeria.

Protesters in several parts of southern Algeria have held near-daily rallies since last December to pressure the authorities to halt shale gas drilling in the area.

With estimated reserves of some 19.8 billion cubic meters, Algeria is the world's third-largest holder of shale gas after China and Argentina, according to a recent report by the U.S. government.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Mart 2015, 22:13