The ongoing anti-government protests in Algeria have considerably limited the country’s pro-Polisario activism in the international community.
Rabat – A group of angry Algerian protesters blocked the way of the country’s Energy Minister on May 27. The demonstrators barred Minister Mohamed Arkab and his delegation from making an official visit to Tindouf, an eastern Algerian province, home to the Polisario-run refugee camps at the border with Mauritania and Morocco.
Chanting anti-government slogans, Algiers residents in the vicinity of the airport staged a sit-in in solidarity with the anti-establishment protests, Huffpost Algeria reported.
The improvised sit-in came after other ministers of the interim government were denied access to a number of public spaces, the newspaper added, explaining that such actions are an extension of the generalized and lasting anti-government fervor that hit the country in late February.
What started off on February 22 as an eruption of popular anger mainly aimed at venting years of frustration and disappointment at former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika for obsessively wanting to rule the country, even as his advanced age and failing health prevented him from doing so, has morphed into a nation-wide movement to drive out all the remnants of the Bouteflika presidency.
As far as Algerian protesters are concerned, there will be no impetus for effective change until the entire Bouteflika establishment, which includes most of the current interim government, is forced to surrender to a generational power shift.
Algerians are asking for a whole new generation of politicians more concerned with the daily lot of Algerians and more equipped to deal with the changes that have taken place in the country, according to Algerian media.
Algeria is an established supporter of the Polisario Front, the separatist group claiming independence in Western Sahara and currently operating in Tindouf, its de facto capital city, with the blessings of the Algerian regime.
Most recently, the Algerian government put its plane at the disposal of the Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, to travel to South Africa, another diehard Polisario backer. Ghali was due to partake in the swearing-in ceremony of South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.
While barring an Algerian minister from travelling to Tindouf has no connections with Algiers’s Western Sahara stance, recent reports have indicated that the country’s ongoing cycle of domestic instability has considerably crippled its pro-Polisario lobbying and Public relations efforts in the international community.
According to a source who spoke to Morocco World News ahead of the latest UN resolution on Western Sahara, the fact that the resolution was more Morocco-friendly than any other resolution was largely because Algiers, which was more concerned with meeting its domestic rising challenges, did not invest as fiercely as it used to in its pro-Polisario activism.