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Widow of leading Berber rights activist vows to fight for the truth

Nadia Matoub, who witnessed her husband Lounes Matoub's murder in 1998, said he has become a ‘symbol of the fight for democracy’

THE widow of leading Berber rights activist Lounes Matoub promised to continue her fight for the truth as rallies across Algeria and France marked the 21st anniversary of his murder today.

Nadia Matoub, who was in the car with her husband when he was shot dead in June 1998, told the Liberte-Algerie newspaper: “He has become the symbol of the fight for freedom and democracy.”

The anniversary of his death comes at a time when Algeria is facing a mass uprising against the political elite.

Crowds have taken to the streets every Friday for the past 18 weeks, demanding the resignation of those associated with the former regime of ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to stand down in April.

Ms Matoub said the influence of Lounes in the demonstrations “is proof that he is still there and that he is still fighting against this system that he has always fought.

“He remains the reference and symbol of the fight for all freedoms,” she said. “He embodies the hope of a better future for a youth who believes in him.

“The fight will certainly be long and difficult,” she added, “but as Lounes said: ‘Hope is allowed’.”

Tens of thousands rallied in Tizi Ouzou in the Kabylie region east of Algeria in his memory today.

Known as the Rebel, Mr Matoub was a militant activist, musician and poet who embodies the struggle for Berber rights.

He survived a number of assassination attempts but was shot dead in mysterious circumstances in 1998. His killers have never been caught. Berber activists blamed the Algerian government for his murder, while the authorities claimed he was killed by Islamists for his controversial songs, including Allahu Akbar.

Supporters paid tribute to his life, describing his works as “a revolution of the soul.”


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