Algeria: Is it Back to The Old Days Again?

Published June 26th, 2019 - 09:28 GMT
Algerian demonstrators shout slogans as they take part in a protest in the capital Algiers (AFP)
Algerian demonstrators shout slogans as they take part in a protest in the capital Algiers (AFP)
Highlights
“There are calls for making Algeria a place for sectarianism,” he warned, emphasizing that his country should be built by all its components.

The Algerian government warned against “slipping into separation”, in reference to the brandishing of the Berber minority flag during a recent protest, as Algerian security forces sought on Tuesday to prevent thousands of university students from holding such flags during their weekly demonstrations.
 
During a visit to Oran, the largest city in western Algeria, Minister of Religious Affairs Youssef Belmehdi said activists of the popular movement “should be civilized,” stressing that the state responded to most of their demands, in an implicit reference to the ousting of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and the imprisonment of the majority of symbols of the Algerian regime.
 
“There are calls for making Algeria a place for sectarianism,” he warned, emphasizing that his country should be built by all its components.
 
This is the first government statement since the beginning of the popular movement four months ago. The government has been besieged by a popular blockade, while Prime Minister Noureddine Badawi has rarely left his headquarters since taking office at the end of March.
 
Meanwhile, legal syndicates in eastern Algerian governorates called on their members to boycott the trial of dozens of people accused of "undermining national unity" because of the controversial flag raised during the demonstrations.

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“There is no legal basis to put the Berber flag holders on trial,” former Judge Abdullah Habil said.
 
Algerian authorities on Sunday arrested 18 people who had brandished the flag during an anti-government protest in Algiers despite a ban imposed by the military, their lawyers said.
 
The suspects were accused of "undermining national unity", lawyers Noureddine Benissad and Karim Heddar said after the suspects appeared in court. If found guilty they could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

This article has been adapted from its original source.    


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