Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Algerian Protests Continue amid Public Dismay

Algerian Protests Continue amid Public Dismay

Friday, 24 May, 2019 - 08:15
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold flags and banners as they return to the streets to press demands for wholesale democratic change well beyond former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation in Algiers, Algeria April 19, 2019. REUTERS

Whilst a political flurry continues to storm Algeria, thousands of the North African state’s citizens are expected to take to the street in a fresh wave of protests against former regime stalwarts remaining in power.

Demanding the safe transition to civilian rule, Algerians are demanding Army Chief General Gaid Salah allows the setting up of transitional bodies ahead of any election, arguing the existing institutions are too marred by corruption for a legitimate vote to take place.

The army has backed the July 4 presidential polls, which were announced following the resignation of ailing leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika last month in the wake of mass protests.

On May 4 the former president's younger brother, Said Bouteflika, was arrested along with former secret service head General Mohamed Mediene and intelligence chief Athmane Tartag. A former Bouteflika loyalist, Salah played a key role in his downfall by calling for the president's impeachment just hours before he stepped down.

But since, heated conflict between military authorities and protesters has been broiling as the former regime’s elite continue to meddle with governance and public affairs.

There has also been implicit pushback against politicians who encouraged the popular movement. Some are being barred from speaking to youth at universities.

“Professors at the University Mohamed Boudiaf - M'sila had invited me to present a lecture about the situation in the country in the light of mobility. I was supposed to present Thursday. However, I was later informed that the dean refused on the grounds that the library is reserved for a certain activity,” leader of the Movement of Society for Peace (MSP) Ahmed Benbitour told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“I do not want to explain or interpret anything, but the professors considered it a political stance on the dean’s part,” Benbitour added.

Similar attempts at stifling dissent were spotted across the country as local authorities attempted to silence activists involved in the popular movement by limiting their access to speaking platforms.

The well-known sociologist Nasser Jabi and the famous lawyer Mustafa Bushashi, for example, were banned from lecturing at universities for undeclared reasons.

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