The region of Tizi-Ouzou, stronghold of the Kabylia dissent and of autonomy supporters was about to know an agitation Tuesday 12th January, once the Algerian security services have arrested many protesters from the Kabyle Autonomy Movement (MAK) who were walking peacefully. Since his being exiled in Paris, the Chief of the MAK, Ferhat Mehenni, has announced that his movement does not have any news about many of its supporters. In an interview with the French information channel LCI, Mr. Mehenni has maintained that the Kabyles “are determined to pull off their autonomy”. A Spanish site has even stated that there has been a person killed in this event, but this information was not confirmed with certainty till now. In return, it has been stated that many MAK leaders, still living in Algeria, have been arrested the previous day and have been intensively questioned by the Algerian security services.
The Algerian authorities seem to be more and more irritated by a population to whom the President Bouteflika has promised a lot during his 2 last presidential elections campaigns. The President’s promises, according to the Kabyle autonomists, have been transformed into “ crawling assimilationist policy, to the image of the Amazigh Algerian channel, inaugurated with great ceremony by the Algerian authorities, but boycotted by the whole Kabylia for its clear anti-autonomist position. Worse than that, the Algerian Minister of Interior Affairs, Yazid Zerhouni, would, in a meeting with his Mediterranean homologues, clearly stated on an equal basis the Kabylia autonomists and the Islamic terrorists, which may lead to a new wave of repressive measures from the authorities, splashing the ghost of “the black spring” of 2001 when a young 16 years old student, Massinissa Guermah was killed by the police, with an automatic weapon, then presented by the Algerian authorities as “a delinquent of 26 years old”. The events which have followed made many victims, some 130 missing persons and hundreds of wounded persons among the Kabylia autonomists.