Algeria’s Berber community took to the streets on Wednesday demanding official recognition of the Amazigh language.
The rally coincided with a 1980 uprising referred to as the ‘Berber spring’
The Berbers were the first inhabitants of North Africa before the Arab invasion in the seventh century. They now make up 13 million of Algeria’s 39 million people.
We want the Amazigh language to become a real official language, and that it is recognised in the Algerian constitution as a state language.
“On the day of April 20, as usual, we celebrate and we walk for the independent state of Kabylie, for free democratic sovereign secular and social state,” said Hocine Azzam, spokesman for the political group Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie.
The language was recognised in 2002 as a national language. Nevertheless, Berbers pushed for Amazigh to gain official status.
“We want the Amazigh language to become a real official language, and that it is recognised in the Algerian constitution as a state language, and it must also be incorporated in the article that defines the set of national parameters, which is not the case today,” said the president of the political party Rally for Culture and Democracy, Mohcine Belabbas.
In February, legislators passed a reform to give the Berber language an official status.