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 Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Algeria's suffering
Youths in the Kabylie region have tried to disrupt the vote
The people of Kabylie are angry with the government

Algeria has been racked by a 10-year civil war with Islamic militants.

More than 100,000 people have been killed, and although the level of violence has fallen, dozens are still killed every week.

And the military authorities are also facing a nationalist uprising in the Kabylie region.

Families gather at a graveyard to remember their dead
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the past 10 years
Parliamentary elections are taking place across the country amid opposition calls for a boycott and further political violence.

No one here is fooled that it is the politicians who call the tune in Algeria. Most countries have an army - Algeria is an army which has a country.

And opposition MP Halfa Mameri says the military will not hesitate to fix the results.

Results annulled

"We know that vote rigging is a habit in this regime," says Mr Mameri.

"So we will have vote rigging. Everybody speaks about it, including the officials themselves - the Minister of Interior. So enough is enough. Parliament has no power."

There have been opposition calls for an election boycott
There have been opposition calls for an election boycott
The violence in Algeria started when the military regime annulled the Islamic Salvation Front's election victory.

The party may have left the armed struggle to other smaller groups, but it remains outlawed.

"The Islamic Salvation Front is a project which still survives," the party's spokesman Kamal Gamazi says.

"We have our supporters and our activists. The authorities never presented an alternative to us over the past 10 years, so people still believe in us. They did not forget us."

Missing

In central Algiers, a group of women come every week to the Place des Martyrs.

There, they hold up photographs of missing sons or husbands taken for questioning by the security forces and never seen again.

It is a heartbreaking scene.

Berbers have launched a campaign of defiance
Ethnic Berbers say their struggle is a national one
One tells me that the security forces came for one member of her family at two in the morning. Then they came back the next day and took away all his belongings.

Since then, she says, she has heard nothing.

Outside the capital, a different demonstration, a different cause. These are the people of Kabylie. They are chanting: "We've had enough of this pouvoir, this dictatorship".

The Kabyls stood with the government, against the Islamists, but now they have had enough of the way Algeria is run.

Victory song

"Some people think the Kabylie movement is a regional movement. No, it's national," one protester tells me.

"They are speaking for all the people who have no jobs. They are speaking about the condition of the whole of Algeria."

A Kabyl woman sings a victory song, a song that also remembers the 120 people the Kabyls say were shot dead by the security forces over the past year.

The rest of Algeria is watching all this intently. The question - whether the Kabyl uprising will spread throughout the country.

Algeria's suffering is far from over.


Islamist uprising

Berber struggle

Economic hardship

Background
See also:

28 May 02 | Media reports
29 May 02 | Media reports
29 May 02 | Middle East
16 May 02 | Middle East
02 May 02 | Middle East
11 Jan 02 | Middle East
18 Mar 02 | Country profiles
18 Mar 02 | Middle East
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