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Algeria

Border Row Is Bad News For Moroccan Workers In Algeria

An estimated 15,000 undocumented Moroccans work in construction sites, bakeries, and in skilled trades across neighboring Algeria.

The entrance to Maghnia, an Algerian city on the border with Morocco.
The entrance to Maghnia, an Algerian city on the border with Morocco.
Giacomo Tognini

MAGHNIA — Already tense relations between Algeria and Morocco have taken a sharp turn for the worse of late, and pose a serious risk to the livelihoods of an estimated 15,000 undocumented Moroccan citizens who work for private and public companies across Algeria, the Algiers-based daily El Watanreports.

The shared border between the two North African nations has been closed since 1994. Recently, though, Algerian authorities added to the animosity by digging 7-meter-deep trenches along their side. In a tit-for-tat escalation, their Moroccan counterparts responded by erecting a two-and-a-half-meter tall fence on their side.

Algerian border guards at the Maghnia border crossing.

Algerian border guards at the closed border with Morocco in Maghnia —​ Photo: Magharebia

The heightened security complicates matters for undocumented Moroccans living and working in Algeria, where even before the current impasse, arrests by Algerian security services were commonplace. Many are prosecuted in the border city of Maghnia before being expelled.

Before the arrival of the fence and the trenches, workers could cross more easily by bribing a border official. Now they must either pay higher fees or instead take a flight to Algiers and seek work in the capital directly.

"Our labor is in very high demand in Algeria," Abderrahmane, a migrant from the Moroccan city of Fez, tells El Watan. "Everyone knows about our presence here and it's tolerated, but we are often stopped and harassed. It's hypocritical."

Many are prosecuted in the border city of Maghnia before being expelled.

Many Moroccan artisans work with plaster or craft elaborate mosaics, and in such sectors, their labor is essential. "The border is a sieve. You can still get through," says Jamal, a plasterer. "Why won't they just regulate us and allow us to work legally?"

Young Algerians have abandoned professions like masonry, plumbing and welding in favor of a secured government job at inefficient state-owned businesses. Moroccans have filled the void despite the many obstacles to receiving a legal work permit.

While the two countries have signed agreements to facilitate the free movement of labor, there is little effective collaboration and obtaining a work permit is an arduous task. For Moroccan migrants, that means continuing to live in legal limbo, with low wages and precarious conditions.

"Many of us have compiled the necessary documents to get the work permit, but our applications always get rejected," says Hamza, a tiler. "It's their way of telling us we're not welcome here."

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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