Algeria. The Arab Spring also spread to Algeria, but the
regime under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika retained control
of the country with concessions, propaganda and police
brutality. At least three people were killed in January when
police, and even young civilians loyal to Bouteflika, turned
down the first demonstrations in Algiers and other cities.
During the spring, protests continued against high living
costs and political repression. Hundreds of protesters were
Oppositionists in the left and the trade union movement
formed in January a coalition, the CNCD (National
Coordination for Change and Democracy), which called for the
government and the president to be replaced by a
transitional government that would propose a new
constitution and organize democratic elections. In February,
Islamists and nationalists formed a coalition with more
modest reform demands.
Countryaah official site, Bouteflika responded by raising public salaries and
subsidizing staple goods such as flour, milk, cooking oil
and sugar, which was possible thanks to the high oil price
which gave the state increased income. The regime launched
its own programs and housing initiatives for young people.
In some quarters, the police also received orders to
overlook small crimes, such as unauthorized street sales.
The state of emergency introduced in 1992 was revoked, but
in Algeria demonstrations were still prohibited.
Bouteflika commissioned the parties in his alliance to
propose constitutional amendments, he promised new electoral
laws and he introduced a new press law which meant that
private radio and TV channels were allowed and that
journalists could no longer be imprisoned for defamation. He
also sought increased support by selecting employees with
ties to the opposition. The task of leading a national
dialogue on reforms, for example, he gave to his former
adviser General Mohammed Touati, with recesses among the
Berbers, and to the former minister Ali Bourgazi, with links
to the Islamists.
In August, Algeria granted refuge to the deposed Libyan
leader Muammar al-Khadaffi's wife, daughter and two sons.
The four, unlike al-Khadaffi himself, were not called for by
the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Algeria
claimed to receive them with "hospitality", but the new
leadership in Libya called the reception "an aggressive
act". Citing Islamists' influence over the Libyan
Transitional Council, Algeria also refrained from
recognizing the Council as the government of Libya.
During the year, a number of clashes between security
forces and militant Islamists within al-Qaeda in the Islamic
Maghreb (AQIM) were reported. Dozens of deaths were required
on both sides.
The subway in Algiers was inaugurated on November 1, 28
years after the first spade.