In an official and popular death ceremony, tens of thousands of Algerians gathered for the burial of Hocine Aït Ahmed, the “father” of Algerian Independence. All the observers agreed that the country has not witnessed such a ceremony since the death of the Houari Boumedienne, 37 years ago.
The Prime Minister Abdel Malek Sellal, along with some members of his crew, were forced to leave the funeral after they were stopped by militants from the opposition party, “Socialist Forces Front”, which was founded and led by the late Aït Ahmed, and that act resembled an impressive political symbol.
The ceremony transformed into a scene of chaos as crowds flooded the winding mountain roads to view the flag-draped coffin.Media reports said that Aït Ahmed had rejected an offer for a burial place at the El Alia national cemetery in Algiers, where state leaders and fellow independence figures are buried. Instead, he will be buried next to his mother in his hometown Ain al Hamam.
The first national secretary for the party, Nebbou Mohamed, told Asharq Al-Awsat, in a phone call, that more than a million person came to the leader’s village to participate in the funeral of who was described before his death as the “last of historic leaders”. Nebbou added that the funeral was attended by some of the independence revolution members who were close to Aït Ahmed.
Following the requests of the late lamented Aït Ahmed, his family and especially his wife, Jamila Aït Ahmed and his two sons, were keen on keeping the funeral away from official protocol. They were also keen on preventing the government from organizing the funeral or having any role in transporting his corpse from Switzerland to Algeria.
Aït Ahmed’s wife also refused to ride a presidential car that was sent for her the moment she arrived to the Algerian Airport with the corpse of her husband last Wednesday.