It’s not over yet in Algeria

It’s not over yet in Algeria

Protests against the government of longtime Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, sparked largely by rising food prices, broke out last month around the same time as the unrest in neighboring Tunisia. But since a mass demonstration on Jan. 22, the situation has been relatively quiet there as global attention has shifted to Egypt. It now appears that the Algerian situation may be heating up again. The opposition has called a rally for Feb. 12, in defiance of a ban on public gatherings, and the government is essentially warning organizers that if violence breaks out, it will be their fault:

Opposition leaders, human rights groups, unions, students and jobless workers are planning a march Feb. 12 in Algiers, the capital. Theywant the government to lift the state of emergency that has been in effect since 1992, end its ban on new political parties and generally be more transparent.

But Deputy Prime Minister Nouredine Yazid Zerhouni reminded organizers Wednesday that the march is "officially banned."

"Those who are calling for this march must take responsibility for damage or for things getting out of hand," Zerhouni told reporters, adding that the government had no plans to lift its state of emergency.

Meanwhile in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front — the country’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated opposition group — has rejected King Abdullah II’s new prime minister. Jordan’s Islamist and leftist opposition groups continued to demonstrate today, demanding more substantial reform.