Environmental movement blocks fracking in Algeria’s remote south
An unprecedented environmental protest movement in a remote part of Algeria has disrupted the country’s multibillion-dollar shale programme and is making political waves across the north African nation and the wider region. Since the start of January, thousands of protesters have turned up daily in the rural town of Ain Salah, in the heart of the Sahara, to take part in increasingly raucous rallies against a $70bn hydraulic fracturing project they say will pollute the groundwater and disturb the environment. Earlier this month the demonstrations turned violent after protesters attempted to stage a sit-in at a facility owned by Halliburton, the US oil services group. This ignited clashes with police in at least three further towns, leading to scores of injuries, dozens of damaged vehicles and the burning down of a municipal building, prompting the army to move troops into the area and impose a shaky order.
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