On 2nd January last there were serious clashes during a demonstration organized by the National Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), part of the SNAPAP union. For an hour, right in the city centre, police used teargas and batons to disperse demonstrators, making several arrests. Beginning in the morning, hundreds of unemployed youths blocked the city centre of the town of Ouargla to protest against the poor management of employment in this oil town in the south of the country, Roads were closed to traffic and most shops and cafes closed. Demands included the dismissal of all local employment leaders as well as the Labour Minister, Tayeb Louh, and the setting up by the government of a crisis office to start a dialogue with the unemployed workers. When protesters blocked the traffic, police forces were brutally launched against the protesters in order to restore circulation.
Arrest of Tahar Belabes
Tahar Belabes, Coordinator of the National Commission for the rights of the unemployed, part of SNAPAP, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon in the doorway of his home. Tahar was not arrested during the demonstration in the morning – police were waiting for him to return home before arresting him.He was released 3 days later, awaiting trial.
Who is Tahar Belabes?
Tahar Belabes has had a hard life since childhood. After the death of his father during a pilgrimage to Mecca, his only brother committed suicide, leaving Tahar with his family, devoid of any kind of resource and living in great poverty.He spent years looking for a job without success to help support his family and the doors closed to him made him aware of the injustice and inequality that thousands of young people who are in the same condition as him live in. He joined with other young unemployed people to demand a dignified life with access to employment for all.Tahar Belabes is not a criminal – he is a young man who has become conscious because of his own life experience.
Working group for North Africa
International Relations Secretariat CGT
Translation by FdCA-International Relations Office
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