Algeria’s culture minister resigns after deadly concert stampede

A man walks past the main gate of the stadium of the rap concert where thousands had gathered to see local rap star Abderraouf Derradji, known as 'Soolking' in Algiers, Algeria August 23, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 24 August 2019

Algeria’s culture minister resigns after deadly concert stampede

  • On Friday, Algeria’s PM fired the head of ONDA, the public authority in charge of organizing concerts
  • Thursday night’s stampede killed five people aged between 13 and 22

ALGIERS: Algeria’s Culture Minister Meriem Merdaci resigned Saturday, following the deaths of five young music fans in a stampede at a packed concert by rapper Soolking in the capital, the president’s office announced.
It said Merdaci handed her resignation to interim president Abdelkader Bensalah “who accepted it.”
On Friday, prime minister Noureddine Bedoui fired the head of ONDA (the National Office of Copyright and Neighbouring Rights), the public authority in charge of organizing concerts. An investigation has been opened.
Thursday night’s stampede that killed five people aged between 13 and 22 came as fans thronged an entrance of the August-20 Stadium in Algiers where France-based Soolking was performing.
The 29-year-old is a major star in the North African country, his song “La Liberte” (Freedom) becoming a mainstay of anti-government protests that entered their seventh month on Friday.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 19 min 17 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”