afrol News, 19 June - Tension still is high in several zones of the Algerian Cabilia province, the region that has been marked by grave confrontations between the Berber people and local government over the last weeks. Central government has decreed the immediate cessation of all types of events.
The Council of Ministers publicly lamented the last incidents of "sabotage and vandalism" against public and private property in a broadcasted message to the Algerian people. It however confirmed its firm determination to react forcefully against any further incidents of this character.
Despite of the call for tranquillity made by the government, tension kept high in the Cabilia province and threatens to extend to the entire country, according to press reports.
The city of Bejaia continues without any communication with the outside world after the local telephone exchange was destroyed last Saturday.
On a nearby locality, Tizi Ouzou, grave confrontations between young demonstrators and riot brigades, trying to protect the buildings attacked by the mass, were reported on Monday. In Draa Ben Khadda, further manifestations ended in the killing of one police officer and several of the rioting youths being wounded in the gun fighting.
Given the events of the popular riot spreading all over the region, these three last violent incidents however represent a rather quiet day. Since the beginning of the mass protests in the middle of April, already some 56 demonstrators have been killed and more than 2,000 person have been wounded, according to official numbers. Non-official sources however estimate that the real numbers are several times higher.
In the country's capital, Algiers, one expects that the government's prohibition of the Berber movement only will by understood as a declaration of war. Especially the timing is considered to be bad, remembering that the manifestations on Thursday had ended in such a tragic way. Four persons were killed and around one thousand demonstrators were wounded.
Reports from Algeria underline the impression that the manifestations, which started as a Berber protest, are gaining on support by Arab majority of the Algerian population as well. Calls for Abdelaziz Bouteflika's military government to step down are getting louder also in Algiers, where Thursday's demonstrations took place.
Bouteflika, which came to power by disputed elections in 1999, had promised social reforms and peace, but popular opinion is he has failed. Some 30 percent of Algerians remain unemployed - including most of the young generation - in a country tremendously rich on oil, gas and other natural resources. Corruption and abuse of power by the military and political elite are the usual explanations Algerians give to the national crisis.