Skip to content
“Thirst riots” in Algeria: several demonstrations in the Tiaret region, where there is not enough water for months

“Thirst riots” in Algeria: several demonstrations in the Tiaret region, where there is not enough water for months

“Thirst riots” in Algeria: several demonstrations in the Tiaret region, where there is not enough water for months

Demonstrations and road closures took place on Sunday and Monday in Algeria’s Tiaret region to protest a serious shortage of drinking water, a problem that President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has vowed to address ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. According to several social media posts, “new demonstrations and roads have been blocked” in Tiaret, 280 km southwest of Algiers, since the start of the sacrifice festival, marked by high water consumption.

Images in these reports show at least two roads blocked by rocks and makeshift barricades between Tiaret and the neighboring towns of Frenda and Bushegif, and mentions of “thirst riots.” Neither state nor private media reported this.

“Your promises to the people of Tiaret were in vain, since the first day of Eid, several areas have been left without water,” a user objected on the page of the Algerian Water Company. About 40 kilometers from Tiaret, in Rauya, images from Internet users on Monday showed a gathering of citizens who “prevented the prefect from leaving the district headquarters until he listened to their concerns.”

“Urgent and exceptional program”

Since May, the semi-desert region’s watercourses and the Bahedda Dam, the area’s only source of water supply, have dried up. Judging by images on social networks, the first demonstrations with burning tires and roadblocks took place near Tiaret in early June. Faced with these unexpected protests, which occurred at the start of the campaign for the expected presidential elections on 7 September, President Tebboune convened the Council of Ministers on 2 June and instructed “the ministers of the interior and water resources to develop an urgent and exceptional program” within 48 hours.

The next day, two ministers Brahim Merad and Taha Derbal visited Tiaret and presented a plan to solve the problem “before Eid al-Fitr”. Mr Derbal returned to Tiaret on Friday to commission the city’s drilled-well water supply system, which came online in two weeks. Judging by the statements of Internet users on the Algerian Water page, this apparently solved the problem in the city center, but not in other areas.

Since Mr Tebboune’s election in December 2019, following the resignation of his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was ousted by the pro-democracy Hirak movement, demonstrations in Algeria have become very rare. The president has not yet said whether he will run for a new mandate in early September, but he has been active in the media, opening projects in Algeria or participating in summits such as the G7 in Italy in recent days.


Source: Le Parisien

Share this article:
globalhappenings news.jpg
most popular