In preparation to declare Amazigh an official language in addition to the Arabic, the Algerian government, represented by the Ministry of Interior, announced on Wednesday the start of registration for the next Hajj pilgrimage in its first official statement in the Amazigh language.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared the Amazigh New Year's Day a national and official holiday across the country during a Cabinet session.
Yennayer, Amazigh New Year, is celebrated on January 12, and unlike previous years, the Ministry of Religious Affairs decided to devote this week's Friday sermon in all mosques to praise the government's new decree.
Following the meeting of the Council of Ministers, Bouteflika issued a statement in which he expressed his best wishes to the Algerian people on the eve of 2018, and announced his decision to devote Yennayer as a “non-working and paid day.”
“This measure, like all those already taken for the benefit of our national identity in its triple Islamic, Arab and Amazigh component, will strengthen national unity and stability,” said Bouteflika.
The President called on his government to spare no effort to generalize the teaching and use of the Amazigh language in line with the constitution.
Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the establishment of an Amazigh language academy.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Nouria Benghabrit-Remaoun announced that students will learn Amazigh in ten additional provinces, after teaching it was limited to the Kabylie region.
Algerian officials stated that the new procedures will put a stop to calls for the separation of the Kabylie region known as "Kabylie Independence Movement".
Residents of Tizi Ouzou, Bejaia, and Bouira provinces stage daily demonstrations and marches asking for independence. Protesters call for the promotion of Amazigh language in educational institutions and carry the Amazigh flag.