LONDON — Algeria's first post-independence president, Ahmed Ben Bella, on Monday launched a campaign for multi-party democracy in his country with a call for peaceful nationwide protest demonstrations.
Ben Bella, 69, and former political foe Ait Ahmed Hocine issued a joint proclamation to launch the campaign, saying they had already had expressions of support from within Algeria.
"Our call is a cry from the depths of the soul of our people," Ben Bella told a news conference. "Algeria is living a drama. Men have gone underground. People have been killed, people have been wounded."
"We want all the people to act," he said speaking in French.
Hocine said Algeria is likely to experience a repeat of the Solidarity phenomenon which swept Poland. He called for peaceful protests and urged opposition figures to call publicly for legalization of opposition parties and free trade unions.