Tax bill sparks brawls in Algeria's parliament

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — A new finance bill in Algeria is dividing lawmakers so much it has sparked exchanges of insults and brawls on the parliament floor.

The draft law, which was being debated by Algeria's lower house on Monday, is being opposed for raising taxes on electricity and diesel, as well as 3G Internet.

Algeria's government unveiled the plans to boost revenues hit by a plunge in the price of oil, a key export.

Opposition lawmakers, including socialists, environmentalists and Islamists, protested and heckled for three hours, at times occupying the speaker's chair holding up banners that read "social and democratic Algeria" and "no to austerity."

In the past year, foreign reserves have dropped from $194 billion to $159 billion.