Violence Over Surging Food Prices In Algeria Spreads As Rioting Leaves Many Dead In Neighboring Tunisia

Tyler Durden's picture

A week ago we noted that the first Fed 'excess liquidity' inspired violence of the year broke out in Algeria, where following the recent release of FAO data confirming food prices have just hit an all time high, rioting broke out "over rising food prices and chronic unemployment... with youths torching government
buildings and shouting "Bring us Sugar!" To be expected, this event received no coverage in the US. In the meantime, the violence has escalated and spread to neighboring Tunisia, where weeks of clashes have left 14 dead. The reason for the lethal violence- "high unemployment and the surging cost of living." One would think that excess economic slack from pervasive unemployment would bring about a plunge in the cost of living... Unfortunately, that is not the case in a centrally planned world. 

Al Jazeera summarizes the tragic developments in the following report:

More from Al Jazeera:

The Tunisian government has said it will listen to protesters, after weeks of unrest over high unemployment and the cost of living left dozens of people dead and raised the tensions.

Samir al-Obaidy, the country's communications minister, told Al Jazeera that the government was responding to the unrest.

"The message has been received by the government and all political channels," he said.

"With the backing of the president, we have already put in place urgent measures and allocated $5bn for the development of various areas."

Government officials reported that 14 people were killed since Saturday in clashes between the security forces and protesters in the towns of Thala, Kasserine and Regueb.

However, Tunisian union sources said that the number was at least 20.

Unfortunately, high cost of living is starting to translate into deaths:

Lina Ben Mhenni, a Tunisian blogger and university assistant, told Al Jazeera that "a lawyer confirmed that more than 20 people were killed in Thala and Gassrine alone".

"Last night I went to the hospital in Regueb, a town that is 38km from Sidi Bouzid, and can confirm that at least five people were killed," she said.

"Among them was a young woman of 26 years old, who is a mother of two children. I went to her home and her family said that she was not taking part in the demonstration - she was just walking past the area."

Al Jazeera was unable to independently verify the death toll in Tunisia.

Belgacem Sayhi, a teacher and trade union activist, said that the victims in Tala were between 17 and 30 years old, and were killed when the police opened fire on the crowd.

Protesters had set fire to the offices of the ruling political party, and the government said that police only fired back when warning shots failed to disperse the crowds.

Ben Mhenni told Al Jazeera said that she tried to visit Kasserine as well, but police had cordoned off the town and did not let her in.

Union sources said that security forces surrounded the headquarters of the Federation of Labour in the city, trying to break into it.

As always, we can hope that these very unfortunate developments do not manifest themselves in the US.

And those who can stomach graphic content, the following site shows the casualties of ongoing rioting direct from one of the receiving hospitals. Again, we warn that this video is very graphic - link.

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Jason T's picture

Americans, start growing a garden and raising chickens for goodness sakes.  

CrazyCooter's picture

Sadly, many municipalities expressly ban farm animals. Gardens are almost always OK, but I can imagine some HOAs out there who would disagree.

I would also point out that the post included the death of a young mother for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The denser population centers may have these types of security problems *IF* food scarcity/prices hit hard enough in the US.

The best option is a place out of town if you can swing it, but for most folks this isn't an option. It is going to be a rough ride me thinks...


flacon's picture

Keynes was right. Not one man in a million is able to diagnose the problem!


"By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose."

~ John Maynard Keynes



EscapeKey's picture

Hmmm... disagree with the "one in a million" bit. I think it was easier for TPTB to hide atrocities and criminal acts in the age before the internet.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

America isn't ready yet to accept its upcoming status as the kind of place where one drives around on a scooter with a hundred chickens strapped to it.


gorillaonyourback's picture

now thats funny, he looks like he is on a mission, wonder if we would get a ticket here in the us

minus dog's picture


Sadly, many municipalities expressly ban farm animals. Gardens are almost always OK, but I can imagine some HOAs out there who would disagree.

I would also point out that the post included the death of a young mother for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The denser population centers may have these types of security problems *IF* food scarcity/prices hit hard enough in the US.

The best option is a place out of town if you can swing it, but for most folks this isn't an option. It is going to be a rough ride me thinks...


First off, anyone living under a HOA in the first place isn't going to get any sympathy from me about rules that get in the way of common sense preparation.  You're right... out of town is the way to go, but it's not as hard as you're making it out to be.  The only problem is that many people only get one shot to make that decision, and their ignorance led them to choose poorly years ago.  The modern suburb is mostly an expression of laziness.

Keep in mind that while gardens are usually OK, in many parts of the nation watering them or collecting water in rain barrels to do so is not.

Secondly, the security problems - large swaths of dense population centers in this country already have, ahem, "security problems".  Not knocking on you in particular, but it's increasingly evident that many here have no idea what it means to be poor in this country and/or to live in the ghetto.  The "bad side of town" is for all intents and purposes a third world nation.

NuckingFuts's picture

Agreed.  Some of us have done it though.  We sold everything (401K, house, vacation home, etc..) about 4 years ago and became vegetable farmers.  Thankfully my wife has her MS in Sustainable Ag.  We sell produce into a large metro area where we used to live.  I have never worked harder, but did close to 200K in sales last year and looking better for 2011.  I don't own any PM's but I do own (free and clear) 190 acres of tillable land on a river with 2 good springs, tractors and implements, as well as keeping over 100 hens.  I'll trade food for PM's soon.  For those who think they can take it from me...much has been invested in lead. 

I suggest everyone do something.  Even at our home in the burbs we still had a garden and 12 hens.

Gold isn't nearly as tasty as fresh food.

flattrader's picture

These type of ordinances are easily undone with the right coaliton of citizen activists and a few sympathetic legislators.  The web is full of advice on dealing with a recalcitrant municipal government.

For some odd reason chickens create real problems in communities (even without a rooster present).

Rabbits require less space, are very quiet and easy to conceal if necessary.

Expect that every little kid around town will hate you once they find out what you are up to.

An old German friend of mine kept rabbits for hausenpheffer.  He came to known as Mr. Hitler.

ZakuKommander's picture

My wife's pet chickens' eggs are delicious . . . when they lay them.  On the other hand, keeping them housed, warm in subzero temps, raccoon-free, healthy, well-fed and watered, and clean is not an easy or inexpensive task.  

How many do you have?

flattrader's picture

I had about a dozen.  I have since relocated and plan on raising another flock.

I understand the problem.  I too was in an area (upper midwest) were winter temps were severe.  Just miserable in Jan./Feb.

Rabbits are looking better all the time.

walküre's picture

Before you cook your rabbit, let it marinate in buttermilk for one day and night.

The meat will be much more tender and the gamey taste will be reduced.

Problem are the coyotes. They're useless bunch and will be shot if they come anywhere near my place. They interbreed with dogs and become more and more aggressive. Nothing a 22 couldn't handle though.

Winisk's picture

Rhode island reds and barred rocks do well in the cold.  Mine are laying consistently and the nights are routinely below -10 C.  Best investment I have ever made.

flattrader's picture

I remember -10 and never want to see it again on a consistent basis again.

I see a polar bear? next to your name.

Gawd, I hope you are not in Alaska.

Calmyourself's picture

Insulate the coop, use a plugged in water warmer on a large tank of water if the water is warm the coop is warm even in Northern MN, a small trap door you can unlatch remotely think long string to eyehook, raise in the AM drop at nite, easy...

ZakuKommander's picture

We do all, and more. Not saying it can't be done, as we've had chickens for a decade, but you have to devote time daily to opening the coop, feeding, changing water, looking for where the little devils hid eggs, cleaning a bit, whether weather us good if bad, and then closing up at night, isn't always extreme fun. And it's not easy finding sitters when you travel. And nursing sick birds. And when they get over four egg production decreases.

Not for the weak of heart.

chopper read's picture

Still think your hungry-for-more-power government wants to give you a big 'ol cuddly hug, everybody? Still think we should be handing over our guns for State protection?

IQ 145's picture

 Hey, we really needed these extra "bernanke funbux", ya know. So lighten up, already, nobodies perfect.

arnoldsimage's picture

tyler... please stop posting all these fake videos showing doom and gloom. all is good in the world, just look at our green dow. green dow all is good. green dow all is good.

Sudden Debt's picture

Today, 19 people got killed in the riots in Tunesia because food prices are to high and unemployement that is through the roof.

Today, 11 people got killed in the riots in Nigeria because food prices are to high

Today there where riots in Egypt because meat prices went up 150%

Today there where riots in Sudan because food transports couldn't get to the capital and food prices went throug the roof.


All good news... makes you think about the fact we don't have it bad at all he?

EscapeKey's picture

Could you post some links, please? Outside of Tunisia, that's the first I've heard of it.

ZakuKommander's picture

That might be because he's in Europe and we aren't.  But our MSM's sports coverage is superb.

EscapeKey's picture

I'm in the UK, and I can't find anything. Not even seems to oblige.

Cathartes Aura's picture

Fresh rioting broke out in Algiers today as police were deployed around mosques and football matches were suspended after protests over food prices and unemployment.

. . . from 7 Jan 2011 - couldn't find a Nigeria story tho'

EscapeKey's picture

Outside of Tunisia, as in, I know it's going on there, but I can't find anything about Egypt, Sudan or Nigeria.

Strider52's picture

It's amazing how they keep all this stuff out of MSM. "Don't worry America, we will tell you what you need to hear, and nothing else."

  Man, this is getting scary.

Cash_is_Trash's picture

Al Jazeera does post this stuff... Fox, CNN, CNBC and the other MSM crap don't.

They stick to 'All the propaganda that's fit to print'

Chomsky bitchez

walküre's picture

Their main fare is Couscous.

What's that made of? Corn, I believe.

The corn shortage is directly associated to the bio fuel craze.

The DIRECT result of another stupid Leftist scam gone bad.

Cathartes Aura's picture

couscous is made from semolina / wheat.

StychoKiller's picture

Guess you never watch the Food Network :>D

Id fight Gandhi's picture

They always have money for teargas and bullets.

DoctoRx's picture


This report is appreciated on 2 fronts.

1.  The news itself.  

2. The overt tone of restraint in your commentary.

Dingleberry Jones's picture

I second this. Major props.

I have been critical in the past of the Tyler's posting non-financial stuff, but I think that I have erred.  In particular, I whined like a baby about too much hyperbole being injected in the breaking of the Tunisia story (and looking back, it was indeed breaking news).

I would like to reinforce the appreciation in the lack of injection of opinion in this post. It shows major restraint, and makes it vastly easier to digest from an integrity standpoint. News and editorialism need to be separated for widespread acceptance, IMO.

This site is exploding in popularity, and it's already in the three thousands according to Alexa's ranking system (1,212 in straight pageviews).

Breaking down the disinformation wall is an absolutely wonderful goal.

I just feel that it's important to try and get through to more people by letting them connect some of the dots with the news, and doing it for them with separate analysis/opinion pieces. For the most part, the current M.O. is kind of preaching to the choir, so to speak.

I'm not sure if the objective is to let more people know about how screwed up the world is or not, or just hitting the anti-establishment types that currently love this site. Would the message be dilluted by doing what I describe? More importantly is it too hard given the current resources? There is already an insane amount of great info here, so I'm probably tilting at windmills.  I just feel that there are some good things about old school editorial practices. 


Just giving some feedback, and I love the work you all do here. It's a must visit site several times a day for me.

Sorry for the rambling.



Tic tock's picture

If the Fed is happy to leave four underqualified people to oversee $7B-a-day UST ther really any point in even bringing the question of their sanity into the discussion?

hedgeless_horseman's picture

"Inflation is very, very low,"  Bernanke says, and if there was inflation then the Fed can "raise interest rates in 15 minutes if we have to."

In Jordan, not so much...

Tuesday January 11, 2011, 3:24 pm EST


AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Jordan slashed taxes on fuel and foodstuffs Tuesday to ease the country's economic burden as global food prices rise.


The announcement came days after popular labor activist Mohammed Sneid called for nationwide protests on Friday against rising fuel and foodstuff prices and a soaring inflation, which rose by 1.5 percent to 6.1 percent last month.


Caviar Emptor's picture

Bernanke on a televised interview regarding something so basic as the question 'Could the Fed have been more aware of the looming banking crisis in 2008' answered that the Fed wasn't the only agency overseeing the banks. If he can't admit there was a problem in the past, he sure as hell won;t tell you if there's a problem right now

EscapeKey's picture

Yes, just as he didn't technically lie when he claimed the FRB isn't "printing money", it is true he could raise interests in 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, it would completely collapse the housing market, make business loans harder to come by, and increase the amount of personal+business bankruptcies substantially, which would lead to an increase in bank failures, and further strain for even the primary dealers. But hey, TECHNICALLY HE'S CORRECT.

Fucking weaselwords. Ben is a fucking weasel.

Cleanclog's picture

Rumors of same in Lebanon, clashes in Bangladesh, potential shortages coming from Australia which could raise prices of some foods and create problems in Asia . . . unfortunate but likely that food skirmishes will become protests and then riots in additional places through 2011.

Scary to think of the increasingly jobless youth in many Middle Eastern countries and increasingly the European Mediterraneans.  May breed drug abuse (stop thinking - medicate kinda like our markets of late), religious extremism (anger, those people's fault), and violence (frustration).

A Man without Qualities's picture

In Tunisia, the trigger has been youth unemployment and inflation, but the underlying cause is the totalitarianism of the government.  The President Ben Ali is liked by the west as he's a "moderate", but in reality, there are no free elections since he got to power in 87.  He gets a Saddam-esque 99% majority every couple of years and nobody says anything about it.  

It's insane to think that Bernanke can't do shit about house prices in Florida, but he can help create food riots across the developing world.  

Cleanclog's picture

Agree with your Tunisia capsule.

What do you think Bernanke "should" do about house prices in Florida?  I think housing prices needed to come down, there and in many other places (yes, I have a mortgage on a home in California). There was a bubble, and the valuations people thought were there in 2002-2006 didn't hold up once replacement costs and number of homes to households were looked at (other factors too, of course).

ElvisDog's picture

One major reason Tunisia and most other Muslim countries have chronically high unemployment is because their birth rates are several times higher then their rate of economic growth. There is just no way to provide jobs for everyone when the average woman in several Muslim countries has something like 6 children.

walküre's picture

I'd like to see some Arabs hitting his statue with shoes.

Tunisia has been developing WMDs since 1996 and if I get the chance to speak in front of the UN, my Powerless Pointless Presentation will prove just that!

cossack55's picture

Looks like a solid emerging market entry point for McDonalds and PaPa Johns.  Go long food.

gwar5's picture

Sarkozy publicly concerned over US policy causing food inflation

RemiG2010's picture

Inflation? What inflation? Didn't you watch 60 minutes? We all gonna be rich!

Seasmoke's picture

is that one of the axis of evil ?

cowdiddly's picture

And most Americans seem to think 26% of the population will just stand around all day doing nothing forever. How bout another round of those inflationary  POMOs Ben.