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Algeria: Protesters Shout Against New Fuel Law

Algeria: Protesters Shout Against New Fuel Law

Saturday, 12 October, 2019 - 08:45
People carry national flags during a protest to push for the removal of the current political structure, in Algiers, Algeria April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Thousands of demonstrators in Algeria on Friday urged the government to release more than 100 detainees and to abandon the hydrocarbons law, which they said “sells the country’s wealth cheaply to foreigners.”

 

Demonstrators faced great difficulties in joining main squares in Algiers after security forces erected checkpoints on roads leading to the capital.

 

Activists said that 34 of the 48 provinces witnessed demonstrations on Friday, some as huge as in Bejaia Soghra, the Kabylie region (east), and in Oran.

 

Demonstrators raised posters of opposition journalist Mohamed Tamalt, who died in prison at the end of 2016 after a hunger strike, and of Dr. Kamal Eddine Fakhar, an Amazigh opposition figure, who died five months ago under the same circumstances.

 

Security forces have reinforced their measures against Algeria’s weekly protests, which started in February. The National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees said that more than 80 people were being held by the authorities and demanded the release of “political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.”

 

The protesters also lashed out at Army Chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, saying he was “a member of the regime of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and therefore should step down.”

 

Gaid Salah had led the push for presidential polls by the end of 2019, saying it was the only way out of the crisis.

 

“Gaid Salah. No vote this year,” protesters shouted.

 

Also during Friday’s demonstrations, protesters strongly criticized the government over the new hydrocarbons law, which gives great privileges to foreign companies in oil exploration. The bill is expected to be ratified on Sunday at a cabinet meeting.


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