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Power cuts spark protests in several regions of Algeria

(Xinhua)

10:32, August 10, 2012

ALGIERS, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Angry people took to streets in several regions of Algeria over the past few days to protest the recurrent black-outs amid summer heat.

Constantine province, 450 km east of the capital Algiers, is most affected by the power cuts which have lasted three days, forcing residents to break their fast in this holly month of Ramadan under the light of candles, according to local El Khabar newspaper.

In Constantine province, protesters blocked several roads, resulting in major traffic jam.

The high demand on electricity, especially with the increasing use of air conditioners in summer, caused the main power plant in Constantine to break down, said a spokesman for Sonelgaz, a state- run gas and electricity distributor.

Sonelgaz has resorted to power cuts in several provinces to ease pressure on generators.

Meanwhile, power cuts in Jijel province on Tuesday triggered protests, as youngsters from the neighborhoods of Sidi Abdelaziz, Ayrebdj and Sakhr El Balh took to streets shortly after the fast- breaking. They blocked the national road N. 34 with tree trunks and burned tires, El Khabar reported.

Residents in Kolea locality in Tipaza province, about 50 km west of Algiers, also launched demonstrations after being out of power and drinking water for several days.

Anti-riot police are ordered not to use force against protesters, a "well informed" source told the newspaper.

The government will increase power capacity by 8,000 megawatts to 19,000 megawatts until 2016 "in a bid to meet the growing consumption, especially during summer with the spreading use of air conditioners," Minister of Energy Youcef Yousfi said earlier this week.
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