Algerian Students Protest for 25th Week Demanding 'Regime Change, Democracy’
Hundreds of students stormed the streets on Tuesday for the 25th week in a row in Algiers amid heavy police deployment and tirelessly demanded regime change and democracy.
According to the AFP reporter, demonstrators were less than usual. Yet, they have promised to keep up the pressure on power every Tuesday although Universities and schools close their doors in August.
They continued to demand the departure of all figures in the ruling regime since the country's independence in 1962.
They also denied Army Chief of Staff General Ahmed Gaed Salah’s recent statements in which he said the protesters’ unprecedented “fundamental demands” had been “completely met.”
Accompanied by teachers, university professors and civilians, the students cried for the regime departure, raising anti-regime slogans and demanding the release of those arrested during protests.
They also reiterated their rejection of the dialogue proposed by the authorities and raised slogans against Karim Younes, former speaker of the People's National Assembly, who was chosen to coordinate the National Commission for Dialogue and Mediation.
Authorities have earlier assigned this Commission to hold consultations and determine the terms of the upcoming presidential elections to replace former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign on April 2.
However, the protest movement insists on refusing to hold presidential elections as long as senior officials from Bouteflika’s era, led by interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and the army chief, remain in power.
During their marches in the middle of the capital’s streets, demonstrators criticized the press coverage and demanded it to set itself free from restrictions, cover the marches with transparency, and support the people.
They also called for the separation of the military establishment from the political life in the country and renewed their demand for the release of prisoners of conscience, who were arrested during protests and have recently announced their intention to engage in civil disobedience.
Some fear this threat while others consider it a new step to put pressure on the authority to respond to their demands, which aim at getting rid of all remnants of the former regime, headed by President Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.
“We should continue the fight till the end... until Algeria is truly free and democratic,” Rania, a 22-year-old student at the School of Public Works told AFP during Tuesday’s demonstrations.