Algeria Seen Clamping Down on Opposition
Authorities in Algiers have detained Fodil Boumala, a prominent academic, writer and opposition activist, as part of what appears to be a clampdown on protesters seeking to revamp the country’s power elite. Boumala’s arrest on Wednesday night followed the recent detention of three other key opposition figures, and a declaration earlier in the day by Lt.-Gen. Ahmed Gaed Saleh, the military chief of staff, stated that vehicles carrying protesters to Algeria’s capital city would now be confiscated. Popular unrest that began in February led aging and ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika – who had declared his intent to stand for a fifth-straight term in elections scheduled for late April – to resign, but his replacement by an interim president and a recent promise of December elections following several delays have done little to satisfy the street. Protesters not only cite an entrenched power elite, but allege rampant corruption among its ranks.