demonstrations in the Tiaret region lacking water for months

demonstrations in the Tiaret region lacking water for months
demonstrations in the Tiaret region lacking water for months

Demonstrations and road blockages took place on Sunday June 16 and Monday June 17, in the Tiaret region of Algeria, to protest against a serious shortage of drinking water, a problem that the president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, had promised to resolve before the Muslim festival of Eid el-Adha.

According to several social media accounts, “new demonstrations and roads blocked” in Tiaret, 280 kilometers southwest of Algiers, from the start of the sacrifice festival, marked by a large consumption of water.

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Images on these accounts show at least two roads blocked by stones and improvised barricades between Tiaret and the neighboring towns of Frenda and Bouchegouf. No public or private media reported it. “Your promises to the inhabitants of Tiaret were in vain, from the first day of Eid, several areas are without water”protested an Internet user on the page of the Algerian Water Company.

Some 40 kilometers from Tiaret, in Rahouia, images from Internet users showed on Monday a gathering of citizens who “prevented the prefect from leaving district headquarters until he listened to their concerns”.

Unexpected protests

Since May, the watercourses of this semi-desert region and the Bakhadda dam, the area’s only source of supply, have been dry. At the beginning of June, the first demonstrations with burning tires and roadblocks took place near Tiaret, according to images on social networks.

Faced with these unexpected protests occurring at the start of the campaign for the early presidential election of September 7, President Tebboune convened a council of ministers on June 2 and ordered the “ministers of the interior and hydraulic resources to develop an urgent and exceptional program” within forty-eight hours. The next day, the two ministers, Brahim Merad and Taha Derbal, went to Tiaret and presented a plan to resolve the problem “before Eid el-Adha”.

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On Friday, Mr. Derbal returned to Tiaret for the commissioning of a city supply system from drilled wells connected to the network in two weeks. This apparently solved the problem in the city center but not in other neighborhoods, according to statements from Internet users on the “Algerian Water” page.

Since the election of Mr. Tebboune in December 2019, after the resignation of his predecessor Abdelaziz Bouteflika, driven out by the pro-democracy hirak movement, demonstrations have been very rare in Algeria.

The president has not yet said whether he will be a candidate for a new mandate at the beginning of September but he is very present in the media, inaugurating projects in Algeria or participating in summits such as that of the G7 in Italy in recent days.

The World with AFP

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