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Algeria University Students Protest Against ‘Manipulation of Judiciary’

Algeria University Students Protest Against ‘Manipulation of Judiciary’

Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 - 07:45
Judges and prosecutors take part in a protest to demand the independence of the judiciary in Algiers, Algeria October 31, 2019. (Reuters)

Dozens of Algerian university students denounced the hydrocarbons law during their weekly demonstrations on Tuesday.

They also called for canceling the presidential elections scheduled for December 12 and described the five candidates as “gangs,” stressing their support for the judges in their dispute with the government.

During demonstrations that were organized near the parliament, protesters attacked Justice Minister Belkacem Zeghmati, whom, they said, is seeking to “manipulate the judiciary to serve the gangs’ interests.”

They were referring to Zeghmati’s week-long dispute with dozens of striking judges over a reshuffle that has affected some 3,000 judges and sparked outrage.

Protesters also condemned the continued detention of dozens of demonstrators and showed support for the striking judges although several people have been imprisoned by magistrate judges in several courts, following demonstrations in recent weeks.

Demonstrations roamed most of the streets of the capital, Algiers and in several other major cities.

Meanwhile, opposition MPs raised on Tuesday banners condemning the hydrocarbons law the illegal government has been seeking to impose to “please global oil companies.”

The draft law, presented by Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab to the parliament, includes facilitation for international oil companies and mainly implies them sharing production.

This law aims at attracting investments in the field of hydrocarbons, given the recent decline in production.

“The discovery of new oil and gas reserves has become an urgent necessity for Algeria and requires an appropriate legal framework,” Arkab said.

“The draft law is aimed at restoring Algeria's prestigious international position in the global energy market during the 1990s, thanks to the advantages granted by the Hydrocarbons Act 1986 to Sonatrach (state-owned) and its partners,” he explained.

After amending this law in 1991, Algeria remained a country that attracts foreign investment, the minister added.

It was able to attract 30 foreign partners who signed 50 contracts with Sonatrach in research and production, and the contracts are still valid, Arkab noted.

He also pointed out that foreign investment in the field of hydrocarbons has been declining since the amendment of the law in 2005.

“Therefore, the law had to be revised and amended,” he stressed.

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