Chaos grab Algerian provinces over high cost of living

23:39, January 07, 2011      

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Protests that erupted in the capital and several northern provinces of Algeria over the high cost of living have led to chaos, while the Algerian authorities promised to resolve the crisis of the surge in prices of large consumer goods quickly, local media reported Friday.

Hundreds of young Algerians took to streets Thursday in several districts in Algiers, and in the provinces of Oran, Tipaza, Boumerdes and Bejaia, to express their dissatisfaction on the increasing prices of large consumer goods, El Watan newspaper reported on its website.

In Algiers, Xinhua reporter saw protestors burning tyres, blocking traffic, holding iron bars, breaking into shops and robbing, and confronting the police by throwing stones. Chaos have caused fear among residents, while many shops closed early.

The security authorities, for their part, deployed large number of police to safeguard order, who used tear gas to disperse the protestors joining the chaos and cordoned off the neighborhoods close to the chaos.

To reassure the public, Algerian Minister of Trade Mustapha Benbada said Thursday that his ministry was beginning to master the crisis of the surge in consumption prices, adding that effects of resolving this crisis will be apparent from the next week on.

"We think we are beginning to master this crisis and we want to find a solution early next week," said Benbada in a statement to reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with processors and importers of sugar and oil.

Algeria imports a large proportion of cereals and sugar it consumes.

In 2010, Algeria has experienced a significant increase in prices of large consumer market, a source of discontent of the people. The Algerian government had attributed the rise in food prices to greedy merchants.

In November 2010, inflation reached 4.2 percent, compared to 5. 1 percent in July 2010. The Algerian government expects an inflation rate of 3.5 percent for 2011.

Source: Xinhua
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