Algerian police on Friday arrested tens of anti-government protesters in the capital, Algiers, as authorities attempt to end months of demonstrations, witnesses said.
The reported arrests were made days after Algeria’s powerful military chief of staff, Gaid Salah, ordered the “seizing and fining” of vehicles transporting protesters to the capital, a hub for the anti-government rallies.
In April, long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika was forced to resign under pressure from street protests and the influential military.
Protests have since continued, mainly in Algiers, demanding an overhaul of the country’s political system and the departure of Bouteflika-era officials.
There was a heavy police presence in the centre of the city on Friday to prevent protesters from converging, witnesses said.
However, demonstrators were able to breach the police cordon and enter Didouche Mourad Square, a focal point of anti-government protests, they added.
Demonstrators chanted such slogans as: “Shame, the capital is under siege” and “Release prisoners of opinion.”
Several pro-democracy activists have been detained in Algeria in recent days in what rights campaigners have described as a crackdown on government opponents.
Amnesty International on Friday demanded a halt to what it called “arbitrary arrests” in the country.
Algerian authorities must recognize “that peaceful protesters’ calls for radical change will not just go away,” said Heba Morayef, the watchdog’s Middle East and North Africa regional director.
“They must listen to peaceful protesters instead of trying to crackdown on them,” she added in a statement. (NAN)
-Sep 20, 2019 @15:55 GMT |