Algeria's culture minister resigns after deadly concert stampede

AFP , Monday 26 Aug 2019

Algeria's culture minister resigned after a deadly stampede at a concert on Thursday. (Reuters)

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 organising concerts.

An investigation has been opened amid charges on social media of security failings.

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 president's office later Saturday also announced the dismissal of Algeria's police chief, Abdelkader Kara Bouhadba, who was only appointed in February.

No official reason was given for his replacement by Kalifa Ounissi but a security source said it was likewise "linked to the Soolking concert".

Soolking, 29, is a major star in the North African country.

His song "La Liberte" (Freedom) has become a mainstay of anti-government protests that entered their seventh month on Friday.

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