Sunday, February 19, 2012

Is an Arab Spring in the air for Algeria?

(Reuters) - When Moncef Marzouki, a former dissident transformed by the "Arab Spring" into Tunisia's president, paid an official visit to Algeria on Sunday, red and white Tunisian flags flew from lamp-posts in his honor.

Just two days earlier, another former dissident and leading figure of Tunisia's revolution had been barred from entering. Sihem Bensedrine was allowed into the country after a seven-hour wait only after protests from fellow human rights activists.

The "Arab Spring" is knocking on Algeria's door, but the authorities cannot decide whether to let it in or shut it out.

Bensedrine, for one, believes the choice has been made.

"I think the Tunisian revolution is not particularly welcome," Bensedrine told Reuters in the capital, Algiers.

Alone among its neighbors in North Africa, Algeria has been largely untouched by the uprisings which last year ousted leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen and touched off the revolt still raging in Syria. Read More