openDemocracy: A question of sovereignty, justice and dignity: the people vs. the government on fracking in Algeria

The call for national mobilisation to oppose shale-gas exploitation in Algeria has been a success. But despite uninterrupted, growing protests and recent clashes, the Algerian government is pressing ahead with its shale-gas development plans.

In openDemocracy by Rachida Lamri

The female population of Ain Salah heading the protest on Tuesday 24 February 2015. Source: BBOY LEE Photos. All rights reserved.

Early on Tuesday 24 February 2015, almost all of Ain Salah took to ‘Resistance Square’ to call for an immediate moratorium on the drilling currently taking place in Ain Salah and planned for other areas of Algeria. They were joined by movements in Tamenrrasset, Timimoune, Metlili, Adrar, Touggourt, Ghardaia, Ouargla, Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia and Algiers, despite a ban on assembly in the capital.

When the Algerian government announced the go-ahead for the first shale-gas drilling site in the town of Ain Salah, protests broke out in the town square. Protesters managed to occupy the drilling site and put a stop to drilling activities before police forces intervened.

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