Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ALGIERS490
2006-03-19 16:48:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Algiers
Cable title:  

QUESTIONABLE DEATH SPARKS DEMONSTRATIONS IN ZERALDA

Tags:  PGOV PHUM AG 
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VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAS #0490 0781648
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191648Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0583
INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1695
RUEHRB/AMEMBASSY RABAT 1225
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 6062
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1173
UNCLAS ALGIERS 000490 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM AG
SUBJECT: QUESTIONABLE DEATH SPARKS DEMONSTRATIONS IN ZERALDA


UNCLAS ALGIERS 000490

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM AG
SUBJECT: QUESTIONABLE DEATH SPARKS DEMONSTRATIONS IN ZERALDA



1. (U) The questionable death of Faycal Akbichi on March 5
in a police station in Zeralda, a city 30 kilometers west of
Algiers, created a furor for local citizens and resulted in
18 injuries, cars and tires burned, and damage to the city
hall and a local bank headquarters. The police reacted
quickly and calm was restored after one day of violence. The
mayor assuaged further violence by promising a proper
investigation into the young man's death.


2. (U) Akbichi, 34, reportedly entered the local police
station in Zeralda at 3:00 a.m. on March 5 and, according to
police officers in the station at the time, was wielding an
ax. Police reported they reacted in self-defense to his
provocation and noted that two officers were seriously
wounded in the confrontation. Akbichi died on his way to the
hospital. The local population, however, suspected foul play
by the police. According to press reports, his family alleged
that Akbichi's ex-fiancee never returned her dowry and later
became engaged to a police officer who has repeatedly
humiliated Akbichi.


3. (U) The Direction General de la Surete Nationale (DGSN)
issued a statement emphasizing that "everything would be done
to determine the precise circumstances of the death of the
citizen Akbichi Faycal." The Wali of Algiers also released a
statement urging the population of Zeralda to remain calm,
adding that the court of Zeralda had instructed the Judicial
Police to begin an inquiry. The population welcomed the
statements and no violent incidents were reported on the day
of his funeral.


4. (SBU) Comment: This incident is another indication that in
Algeria frustrations over a variety of grievances can quickly
spill into the street. What is unusual is the speed with
which the authorities took action to calm this situation.

ERDMAN