Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika  called for artists to hear "the cry of the people of Gaza" in the face of "fierce aggression" by Israel, in a message read on his behalf Thursday evening at the opening of a Arab Festival of Djémila, an annual music festival. "Artists have always represented (...) a vibrant conscience and the best expression of the people's emotions, their pains and hopes," Bouteflika's message read as he called on artists "to make the world hear – through your creativity – the cry of the people of Gaza and the suffering of its defenceless children and women."
The message was read at the opening of the Arab Festival of Djémila  while a fragile truce is being held in Gaza between Israel and Hamas after over a month of violence that has left nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians have died. "Algeria has condemned [the Israeli] assault and expressed its solidarity with its brothers in Palestine. The country has initiated materialistic contributions to come to the aid of his brothers," declared the statement released by the APS agency, adding that in late July, Bouteflika decided to release urgent financial assistance of $25 million (€18.5 million). "It is important that all our people initiate immediate generous help for their brothers in Palestine," the presidential statement continued.
According to the festival's official website, its tenth edition, which kicked off on Thursday 14 August, will underscore solidarity with the Palestinian people and with Gaza through the participation of major stars of Arabic music, including several Algerian singers, musicians from Palestine as well as other artists from the Arab world.
Djémila, a mountain village near Algeria's northeastern coast, is  a UNESCO World Heritage site  known for its numerous well preserved Berbero-Roman ruins.
The festival will continue until 23 August, with many concerts staged at the third century AD Roman theatre.