Algeria. During the year demonstrations were held against drilling for shale gas in southern Algeria. The methods of extracting the gas have been criticized for polluting the environment, especially the groundwater. Algeria has been extracting natural gas since the 1960s and is one of the largest exporters to Europe.
In May, 22 jihadists were killed in Bouira east of Algiers in what has been described as one of the largest military operations in the country in recent years. The dead were among the soldiers of the Caliphate, a radical al-Qaeda outbreak group, which was behind the notable kidnapping and murder of a French tourist last year. The Ministry of Defense reported that hundreds of militant Islamists had been killed or arrested in the first half of 2015. Algerian terrorist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who was the brain behind the deadly attack on a gas plant in Algeria two years earlier, was killed in Libya in June.
In the same month, several people and companies were convicted of corruption in connection with the construction of the 120-kilometer highway that runs across the country from the border with Morocco in the west to Tunisia in the east. Several ministers were also accused of involvement in the corruption revolution. According to COUNTRYAAH, Algiers is the capital of Algeria which is located in Northern Africa. Construction of the highway started as early as 2006, but has been delayed and become more than twice as expensive as it was initially thought.
In June, violent clashes between Arabs and Berbers occurred in Ghardaïa, a world heritage city that has been affected by conflicts between the two groups since 2013, including access to housing and land. In the violence, 22 people were killed.
In the spring, new stricter legislation on violence against women was adopted in the home. The new law received criticism from several directions – Islamists believed it was a threat to the nuclear family, while the human rights organization Amnesty International considered it at risk of becoming toothless as it gave room to pardon perpetrators. Algeria is considered a strong patriarchal society where violence against women is a major societal problem.
At the end of November, at least 18 people died in a fire that occurred in a refugee camp in Ouargla, about 80 miles south of Algiers.
Radio director sentenced to prison
Abdelkrim Zeghileche, who runs the online radio station Radio-Sarbacane, has been sentenced to two years in prison. His lawyer states that he was accused of calling for the formation of a new party. The criminal classification, which seems to have become more common in cases where opposition occurs, is that the accused posed a threat to national unity. He is also said to have insulted the head of state. The sentence is later shortened, after the verdict has been appealed, to one year, half of which must be served in prison.
Referendum announced in November
A referendum will be held on November 1, the President’s Office announces. The vote will be about proposals for amendments to the constitution.
Trade agreements with the EU arouse dissatisfaction
Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad announces that a thorough review of Algeria’s trade agreements with other countries will be carried out. This is happening against the background of both business and politicians expressing concern about the terms of a long-term free trade agreement with the EU, which after years of transitional rules will enter into force on 1 September. Earlier in August, Minister of Trade Kamel Rezig was commissioned to conduct a screening of the agreement with the EU, which was basically negotiated a few years after the turn of the millennium, when the EU included significantly fewer countries than today. Algerians are particularly dissatisfied with the fact that it is difficult for Algerians to obtain visas for EU countries, and that investments and technology transfers from EU countries have not been as large as hoped. Algerian demands for renegotiation have been expressed for a long time.
Waves of forest fires are being investigated
The president orders an immediate investigation into fires that devastated thousands of hectares of forest. On July 27, 66 fires broke out simultaneously, and from June 1 to August 1, more than 1,200 fires have been reported. It has led the government to set up a reconnaissance unit and emergency preparedness resources. After several summers with forest and land fires, a survey was conducted in 2019, but the results were never published.