A general strike of traders against the new Finance Law has entered its second day in the Algerian province of Bejaia.
Yesterday, the first day of strikes, was marked by violent clashes which continued until the early hours of this morning in the city centre. Evidence of the long night of riots was visible today on several buildings despite the municipality’s efforts to clean the area.
According to security reports, 100 young demonstrators were arrested and taken into police custody. Some were arrested for robbery with legal proceedings currently being carried out against them.
Several shops were pillaged and buildings ransacked including the Condor showroom, the SNTA depot and the French bank BNP Paribas. In the city centre, young demonstrators burned a bus and a riot police truck.
The municipality’s headquarters was also targeted by angry demonstrators who ransacked and burned the premises. Stones were thrown on several police stations in the evening.
Several were wounded during the clashes and taken to hospital.
The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) called the inhabitants of Bejaia to remain “vigilant” and “calm”. In a statement, the organisation reaffirmed that “only a peaceful framework would be able to bring about legitimate citizen demands.”
“We deplore this situation which could lead the country into uncertainty and chaos and call for calm to avoid skidding.”
The strike was launched on social networks to denounce tax increases in the Finance Bill which was officialised by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last week.