Algeria

The independent United Nations expert on the right to freedom of opinion and expression today called on the Algerian Government to investigate the killing of a political activist he had met on a recent official visit to the North African nation and to bring those responsible to justice.

Ahmed Kerroumi reportedly disappeared on 19 April and his body was found in his office four days later. He was a professor at the University of Oran, and member of the opposition party Democratic and Social Movement and the Oran section of the National Coordination for Change and Democracy.

Cinq jours après sa disparition, le cadavre d'Ahmed Kerroumi, âgé de 53 ans, enseignant universitaire, militant du MDS et membre de la Coordination nationale pour le changement et la démocratie (CNCD) d’Oran, a été retrouvé samedi au siège du MDS à Oran. Présent sur les lieux, le correspondant d'El Watan à Oran a confirmé cette information qui a fait le tour de la toile provoquant ainsi l'indignation de tous les internautes Algériens. 

Ces derniers mois, des mères de famille de différents horizons, pour la plupart des femmes mariées, ont sollicité Liberté sur un sujet peu médiatisé, lié à leur droit de tutelle sur les enfants, mais qui semble les affecter sérieusement, voire les humilier. Comme les questions de ces femmes étaient très précises, nous avons jugé utile de nous rapprocher d’une avocate, Maître Nadia Aït Zaï, pour en savoir plus sur le thème, en relation avec les textes en vigueur, et pour tenter de répondre à certaines de leurs préoccupations.

C'est avec une profonde consternation que j'ai appris le limogeage de M.Jack Persekian, directeur de la Sharjah Art Foundation, ceci pour le “punir” d'avoir permis à un artiste invité à la Biennale de Sharjah, en l'occurrence moi-même, de s'exprimer en toute liberté. Dans la foulée, mon installation intitulée « Maportaliche/Ecritures sauvages » (It has no importance/Wild Writings) a été censurée. Je tiens par ce communiqué à manifester ma plus vive indignation face à ce procédé infâme, et à témoigner ma solidarité à M.Persekian et à sa formidable équipe. 

Even as the Arab spring unfolds across the region, I learned with profound astonishment that Mr. Jack Persekian, director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, has been dismissed as “punishment” for allowing an artist invited to the Sharjah Biennial total freedom of expression. I am the artist in question. My installation “Maportaliche/Ecritures sauvages” [It has no importance/Wild Writings] has been censored and removed from the Biennial. 

A hundred stalwart demonstrators stand on the Place de 1er Mai (First of May Square) in Algiers, at what has become their weekly Saturday gathering. They include activists from opposition political parties, women's rights advocates, and people who are just plain fed up. This small but resolute troop is surrounded (and vastly outnumbered) by police who push them around and try to make them go away.

Dear friends, the rally that took place on the occasion of 8 March, International Women’s Day, at Place de La Grande Poste, “Place Karima Belhadj” (in Algiers) was a great success according to the public – both young and less young, women and men. The list of women assassinated by Islamists gave rise to a very interesting debate between the women and passers-by in the square baptised ‘Karima Belhhadj” on the 8 March 13 years ago. Many citizens came up to us and said they didn’t find the names of women they knew on our lists. They were invited to supply us with the necessary information so that we could add it to our lists. 

Chères amies, Le rassemblement tenu à l'occasion du 08 Mars, à la grande poste " place Karima Belhadj" a eu un grand succès auprès du public jeune et moins jeune, femmes et hommes. La liste des femmes assassinées par les islamistes a suscité un débat très intéressant entre les femmes et les passants de la place baptisée "Karima Belhadj " un 08 mars par les femmes, il y a 13 ans. Beaucoup de citoyens sont venus nous dire qu'ils ne trouvaient pas sur nos listes, les femmes qu'ils ont connues. Ils ont été invités à nous fournir les informations nécessaires, pour les ajouter sur nos listes.

Some 2,000 demonstrators again challenged the ban on protests in Algiers on Saturday. "On a marre de ce pouvoir" (we have had enough of this government!), they cried. An older man in the crowd told me, "What we want is a change of the system not a change in the system." I wish I could share the pictures I took of the protest, but my camera was stolen while I was surrounded by a debating circle of those for and against the march. Later, I am told that cameras are reportedly turning up at a nearby police station. A friend at the march, displaying typical Algerian hospitality, ran to the Rue Hassiba ben Bouali to buy me a replacement disposable camera. I filled it with more pictures – a woman in her sixties trying to inspire the marchers by singing at the top of her lungs; rows and rows of riot police banging their batons against their shields, injuries to the leg of a young protester – but that camera was then confiscated by hostile undercover policemen. So I will try to offer a few pictures in words. Those cannot be taken away.

Sunday 13 February 13 – The Day After: 1st of May Square, Algeria's "Little Tahrir", looks bizarrely normal the morning after the 12 February opposition protest that defied a massive police deployment. The fountain is back on and there are only a few ordinary cops around, compared with the thousands from the anti-riot squad who blanketed the space on Sunday, arresting hundreds. I am picked up in the square to attend the follow up meeting of the protest's organisers, the National Coordinating Committee for Change and Democracy (CNCD), at a union hall near the airport. The elderly lawyer Ali Yahia Abdennour opens the discussion: "They beat our old and young, our women and men." He calls for demonstrations the following Saturday and every Saturday thereafter until the entire Algerian population descends into the streets. The meeting ratifies his idea, declaring another protest 19 February on 1st of May Square.

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