Algeria: two protesters killed in clashes with police
Published Saturday, November 29, 2014
Updated at 2:00 pm (GMT+2): Two demonstrators were killed when clashes broke out late on Friday between riot police and residents demanding better living conditions in southern Algeria, residents and a hospital said.
Riots over public housing and services are common but rarely result in deaths in the OPEC oil-producing country, where the government uses energy revenues to fund subsidy programs to avert unrest.
Some 25 protesters were also reported to have been injured in the clashes in Touggourta, southern Algeria, after disillusioned youth took to the streets to protest against delays "in awarding plots, construction and connection to the water supply," APS news agency aid.
The pair killed were aged 20 and 24, Nahar newspaper reported, with witnesses adding that police were among the wounded.
The protests began with people blocking the road that leads to the nearby Hassi Messaoud oil field, the daily said.
After police dispersed them with tear gas and batons, they converged on the police station, where the fatal clash took place.
There was no immediate comment from local authorities.
Algeria mostly avoided the 2011 protests that rocked its neighbors and the government spent heavily on subsidized food and basic goods to calm protests over food prices.
The country relies heavily on oil revenues for its budget for state expenditure. With nearly $200 billion in reserves, Algeria has plenty of financial cushion for public investment, but some officials recently called the fall in world oil prices a warning over spending.
(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)