Algerian Govt Abandons Search for Shale Gas After Popular Outcry

Published January 29th, 2020 - 08:26 GMT
Algeria (Twitter)
Algeria (Twitter)
Asked if the shale gas was included in his new government’s agenda, Tebboune said the decision to exploit it was made in 2014.

Authorities in Algeria have have temporarily abandoned searching for shale gas after it sparked popular outcry, according to Algerian sources close to the government.

University students denounced during their weekly demonstration on Tuesday “selling the country's wealth.”

In a television interview last week, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said “the door is open to those who want to benefit from the country’s shale gas.”

The interview was rebroadcast on Sunday “at the request of viewers,” according to the state television. Yet, the part related to the shale gas was taken out.

Asked if the shale gas was included in his new government’s agenda, Tebboune said the decision to exploit it was made in 2014.

He explained government will thoroughly assess the experiences of other countries in this field, which is an issue of concern to specialists.

“Algerians should know that shale gas is a buried wealth and if we want to raise people’s standard of living, we must exploit it.”

“We have the second or third greatest global reserve of shale gas, and we neither export agricultural nor industrial materials,” he noted.

The shale gas debate dominated slogans raised by university students, who were protesting for the 49th consecutive week.

They demanded a real regime change, indicating that the new president does not represent all Algerians, who have been rallying against all the practices of the former regime of ousted ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In other news, the Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that Algerian authorities continue to arbitrarily arrest and prosecute activists from the demonstrations despite the president’s promise to initiate a dialogue with them.

“Since the presidential elections on December 12, 2019, Algerian authorities have detained dozens of activists who participated in peaceful protests, including as recently as January 17, 2020,” it stressed.

“Many remain in detention, facing charges based on their participation in peaceful protest or criticism of the authorities after the authorities provisionally released more than 70 activists in January.”

“Instead of freeing everyone detained for peaceful protest, the authorities have continued arresting and detaining people for their peaceful activism,” said Eric Goldstein, acting Middle East and North Africa executive director at Human Rights Watch.

“Offers of dialogue lose credibility when you are locking people up simply for going onto the streets to disagree with you,” he noted.

This article has been adapted from its original source.     

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