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Algeria Opposition Seeks to Overturn Ban on Protests

Algeria Opposition Seeks to Overturn Ban on Protests

Wednesday, 4 July, 2018 - 08:15
Protesters chant slogans in front of a policeman during a demonstration in Algeria. (Reuters)

Opposition parties and figures in Algeria, not represented at parliament, appealed to opposition deputies to take the necessary measures to overturn a ban on staging demonstrations.

They called on the lawmakers to resort to the powers granted to them by the amended 2016 constitution to abort laws and procedures in case they breach the constitution.

The matter is related to a 1991 law that puts restrictions on demonstrations and to a 2001 government decree that bans protests in the capital for “security concerns”.

This appeal is led by former ministers, journalists, lawyers and heads of parties as part of their efforts to stand against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's running for a fifth term.

Former Judge Zubeida Assoul, head of Al Rokei Wal Adala Party, is leading this mission.

She announced during a press conference on Tuesday that she sent a message to opposition lawmakers, urging them to exercise their powers to attempt to overturn the ban.

Assoul slammed the government for abusing the 1991 law and 2001 decree to clamp down on freedom.

Clause 87 of the constitution stipulates that 50 members of the Council of the Nation (Upper Chamber) and 30 members of the People's National Assembly (Lower Chamber) can submit a request to the constitutional council to challenge the constitutionality of any law issued by parliament.

In 1991, the government amended the protest law at a time when Algeria was suffering from terrorist attacks and after the army intervened to abolish the results of parliamentary elections that saw Islamists claim a huge victory.

In June 2001, then Prime Minister Ali Benflis issued an executive decree that prohibits rallies in the capital, following violent popular protests.

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