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Algerian Police Cordon Off Capital to Prevent Veterans’ Protest

Algerian Police Cordon Off Capital to Prevent Veterans’ Protest

Tuesday, 1 September, 2020 - 07:30
Algerian protesters demonstrate in Algiers (AFP)

The Algerian capital, Algiers, and its suburbs have been under tightened security measures with dozens of checkpoints to prevent hundreds of army veterans and injured soldiers from reaching the Ministry of Defense.


Members of the association of army veterans and injured soldiers organized a march from the Reghaia area, 30 kilometers east of the capital, to the Ministry of Defense to present their demands to the army leadership.


However, authorities prevented them from approaching the ministry and the gendarmerie set up dozens of roadblocks on highways and roads to prevent the demonstration.


Many protesters gathered in different areas demanding compensation for the years they spent in army ranks, and in fighting armed groups during the 1990s.


They called on the army leadership to receive their delegation which will present a list of demands, including a raise of their pensions and compensation for those who have been disabled during the war on terrorism.


Tayyib Rahmani, one of the protesters, told Asharq Al-Awsat that soldiers were strong support for the state when terrorist organizations invaded the country, but authorities have turned their backs on them even though their demands were simple.


Meanwhile, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared war on the gangs that control the popular neighborhoods in the capital.


During a cabinet meeting, he stressed the need to fight relentlessly against the phenomenon of criminal gangs in neighborhoods, while excluding convicted members of these gangs from pardon procedures, according to a presidency statement.


Tebboune indicated that violence escalated in recent years especially in cities due to the weakness of the state’s authority. He called for tightening legal measures to protect citizens and their properties from these criminal gangs.


The president reiterated the need to prevent the import, sale, possession, use, or manufacture of white weapons, including swords and daggers, which are used by gangs.


Police reports indicate that the rate of killings, assaults, and robberies in poor areas of the capital is escalating severely.


The president called on the government to adopt legal measures to protect the security services charged with confronting these gangs.


He ordered the police to intensify the work of the national and local committees created in the draft law. He also called for involving the civil society in combating this crime, which has a proposed penalty of five years to life in prison and a fine of up to about $15 thousand.


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