THE acting leader of Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), the thwarted winners of the first round of elections held last month, has warned Algeria's new five-man collective presidency against banning the fundamentalist party.
In an interview published yesterday, Abdelkader Hachani, an oil engineer employed by the state oil firm Sonatrach, repeated his opposition to violent protest. But he said Algerians have begun to voice their political will and despite the annulment of the elections "the FIS has achieved a legitimacy that nothing and no one can take away from it."
Mr. Hachani, who came to head the FIS when more senior fundamentalist figures were arrested after riots last June, said the situation in Algiers is very delicate. In order to preserve its electoral gains, the FIS will not permit violence, he said.
He accused Algeria's new leadership of applying a dictatorship and a form of apartheid to oppress the FIS.
"The discrimination that is being applied here now is among people who have a beard and wear a jelaba [long robe] and those that don't," he said. "Those who do are arrested."