ALGERIA-BERBERS:Berbers vow to disrupt Algerian election .
ALGIERS, March 4 (Reuters) - Berber activists vowed on Monday to disrupt Algeria's parliamentary election on May 30 to up pressure on the government to meet their demands for better social, economic and cultural conditions. "We will prevent the elections from being held in Kabylie unless the government meets our demands," Belaid Abrika, a leader of the Coordination of Berber towns and tribes, said.
The Coordination -- a grassroots movement leading protests for more Berber rights -- said it had prepared plans to fan unrest and shut polling stations in the predominantly-Berber north-eastern Kabylie region.
Badis Abdelbost, another leading Berber activist, said the plan was agreed at a recent meeting in Bejaia, 250 km (155 miles) east of Algiers. "The plan outlines action to block the poll, including activists storming the vote stations and shutting them down," Abdelbost told Reuters.
The May 30 ballot will be Algeria's second legislative poll since 1992 when the country was plunged into civil strife after the then army-backed government scrapped a general election in which radical Islamists had taken a commanding lead.
More than 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which pits Islamic rebels against the military, which plays a dominant, behind-the-scenes role in Algerian politics.
Politicians fear Berber activists may be encouraged to push for autonomy in Kabylie if the protest plan succeeds in keeping the region's four million people away from polling stations.
As well as more linguistic and cultural rights, Berber activists want the government to withdraw paramilitary gendarmes from Kabylie, and ease unemployment and a housing shortage.
Nearly 100 young Berbers were killed by the security forces last year during anti-government protests.
Ethnic Berbers were the original inhabitants of North Africa before the Arab invasion that brought Islam to the region. Date : 2002-03-04 Source : Reuters March 4 - 2002
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