High Risk of tensions in Kabylie ahead of the proclamation of the Provisional Government

The Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK) will officially proclaim its provisional government on Tuesday June 1st during a ceremony in Paris.

The announcement had been done by MAK president Ferhat Mehenni, on Sunday April 18, ahead of the commemorations of theTafsut Imazighen, (the“Berber springtime”) of 1980 and of the “Black Spring” of 2001. The creation of the MAK government inParis could therefore prompt a new outbreak of ethnic tensions from the Algerian authorities, especially if autonomist activists gather in Kabylie. In 1980 and 2001, such movement had led to a bloodbath on the ground. As we have reported in our note of April 21, 2010 (KABYLIE: REPRESSION AND A PLAN FOR AUTONOMY, by Dimitri DOMBRET, ESISC Research Associate), the Algerian government has indeed always used the most violent means to stifle a democratic and peaceful movement.

Moreover, the MAK’s initiative will comes amidst a critical climate of tensions in Kabylie due to the bad living conditions and to the rising anger of the populations over security. As ESISC had reported earlier, protests have indeed erupted in recent week in Kabylie to blame authorities for their inability to protect the population from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb terrorists. Demonstrators had also warned that “more radical actions” would be carried out if nothing was done to curb the threats.

Added to its high symbolic strength the proclamation of an autonomist government by Ferhat Mehenni could therefore contribute to aggregate the wrath and frustrations of the Kabyl people. The situation on the ground should therefore be followed up extremely carefully as it could have an explosive impact for the entire region.