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Algerian Parties Demand Release of All Political Prisoners

Algerian Parties Demand Release of All Political Prisoners

Monday, 20 April, 2020 - 08:45
Algerian protesters, with the Berber flag in the background, chant slogans during anti-government demonstrations in the capital Algiers. AFP file photo

Key opposition parties have demanded that the Algerian authorities release “all prisoners of conscience,” denouncing the “ongoing suppression in the wake of the unilateral truce announced by the protest movement.”

The parties were hinting at the arrest of dozens of Hirak protesters since they have suspended their rallies six weeks ago.

In a statement on Sunday marking the 49th anniversary of ‘the Berber Spring’, the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) urged the authorities to “act rationally” in handling the political crisis that erupted after president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down and the protesters rejected elections end of last year.

The RCD slammed Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune dubbing him as “the civilian face of a military command entrenched in corruption.”

Tebboune can’t suppress young protesters in determining their fate. It’s time to establish a genuine state of law and a democratic state, the statement read.

It reiterated that RCD sticks beside all those striving for dignity and restoring the people’s sovereignty.

The party is led by Mohcine Belabbas, who fiercely opposes the Algerian authorities and the army’s intervention in politics.

The party’s members have had leading roles in the Hirak movement, and many have been arrested for hoisting the Berber flag in protests.

The statement added that celebrating ‘the Berber Spring’ is an opportunity to stress that the “sole positive and peaceful solution for the country is a transitional period that determines mechanisms to guarantee free elections, which result in credible institutions.”

Some political blocs put the “transitional phase” on the table of negotiations when the army insisted on holding presidential elections last year. But the authorities considered their move an attempt to destabilize the country.

The secular RCD warned that a “humanitarian catastrophe is looming on the horizon” over the economic crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Algeria has long ago lost control over its present and future because of its dependence on oil revenues, the statement added.

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