Algerian youths protest over food prices, unemployment

Officially unemployment is about 10 percent in Algeria, but independent organisations put it closer to 25 percent.

Algerian youths protest over food prices, unemployment

Riots erupted in Algeria over food prices, housing and lack of work, with youths in the capital stoning a police station, torching tyres and destroying cars, witnesses and media said Thursday.

Violence flared in Algiers late Wednesday after weeks of protests across the oil-rich country that come as similar unrest linked to unemployment and living costs has shaken neighbouring Tunisia since mid-December.

Anti-riot police used tear gas to disperse youths in the Algiers neighbourhood of Bab el-Oued late on Wednesday. A store selling cars and one selling mobile phones were among buildings set on fire, witnesses said.

Media also reported rioting in the cities of Oran and Blida.

OPEC-member Algeria has seen periodic outbreaks of social unrest but riots due to rises in the cost of basic foods are rare.

The cost of flour and salad oil has doubled in the past few months, reaching record highs, and 1 kg of sugar, which a few months ago cost 70 dinars ($0.274), is now 150 dinars.

"The youth is mad at the regime. It doesn't understand why a rich country is unable to offer jobs, houses and a decent life to its people," Mohamed Said, 55, who lives in the crowded Bab el-Oued district, told Reuters.

Another resident, Miloud Aziz, 47, said: "It is all about feeding our children. Prices are too expensive for people like us. Too much, it is too much."

Officially unemployment is about 10 percent in Algeria, but independent organisations put it closer to 25 percent.

The government has announced an investment plan worth $286 billion over the next four years to create jobs and improve living conditions. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has also promised 1 million new housing units by 2014.



Agencies

Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2011, 11:00
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