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Coordination Des Archs (Algeria)


a political grouping that grew out of disorders in the kabylia region of algeria during the spring of 2001.

On 18 April 2001, a high school student named Massinissa Guermah was killed in a police station in Beni Douala, a small town near Tizi Ouzou, the capital of the Berber region of Kabylia. Over the next several weeks, numerous protest demonstrations took place and violent riots broke out in several localities. Some fifty people were killed in the ensuing disorder.

Bypassing established political parties such as the Socialist Forces Front and the Rally for Culture and Democracy, local activists created a new organization, which was referred to as the Coordination des Archs, Dairas, et Communes (CADC; archs refers to the traditional Kabyle clans or tribes, dairas to the administrative subprefectures, and communes to the local village councils). The CADC organized a series of marches and boycotts while articulating a set of demands that expressed the long-simmering anger of Kabyle youth toward the military-dominated regime in Algiers. Among the grievances summed up in the El-Kseur Platform of June 2001, the new association called for criminal proceedings against the policemen guilty of armed violence, total withdrawal of the National Gendarmerie from Kabylia, and recognition of the Berber language, Tamazight, as a national language.

Initially organized at the departmental (wilaya) level of Tizi Ouzou, the CADC quickly expanded into the Interwilaya des Archs, bringing together delegates from seven of the country's forty-eight wilayas : Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia, Boumerdés, Bouira, Bordj Bouéridj, Setif, and Algiers. The most prominent figure in the movement was an economist and professor at the University of Tizi Ouzou, Belaid Abrika, a long-standing Berber cultural activist. The group led boycotts of the 2002 parliamentary and local elections, but by 2003 the organization was increasingly viewed as obstructionist and, despite a hunger strike by Abrika, was losing influence.

see also ait ahmed, hocine; berber spring; black spring; kabylia; rassemblement pour la culture et la dÉmocratie (rcd).

Robert Mortimer

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