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'We will not stop': Algerians continue to protest a year after demonstrations began Open in fullscreen

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'We will not stop': Algerians continue to protest a year after demonstrations began

Algerians chant slogans as they march in an anti-government demonstration in the capital [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 14 February, 2020

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Algerians marched in the streets of central Algiers on Friday shouting 'we will not stop'.
Thousands of Algerians took to the streets on Friday, a year since the start of weekly protests demanding the dismantling of the political system and its representatives, who have been in power for several decades.

"We will not stop," the crowd in central Algiers chanted, according to Reuters, who also reported a large police presence.

An Algerian anti-government protest movement that began almost a year ago brought down long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Despite his fall, protests have continued as activists feel that change has not gone far enough.

Algeria's new president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was elected on 12 December in a poll marred by an official turnout of less than 40 percent, has offered talks to the opposition. 

But the leaderless protest movement known as "Hirak" was dismayed by the fact that the old ruling elite remains in power.

"Our hirak is tireless. We are ready to keep marching for months more," 23-year-old student Yazid Chabi told Reuters Friday.

"Algerians have been getting only promises. Nothing has improved in recent years because corruption is still there."

President Tebboune pardoned almost 6,300 prisoners last week, but scores detained as part of an anti-government protest movement will not benefit from the move.

The pardon came two days after the president issued a similar pardon for almost 3,500 other prisoners.

Tebboune signed a decree pardoning "a second group of prisoners (6,294 detainees) ... whose remaining sentence is 18 months or less", a statement from the presidency carried by official press agency APS said.

The measure does not apply to those imprisoned for crimes including terrorism, treason, espionage and corruption, it added.

Read more: Algeria buries powerful military chief, but not the system that made him

The Hirak movement was launched in February 2019 to demand that longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resign instead of running for a fifth term.

The CNLD prisoners' rights group, which identifies and supports detainees, said the pardons did not affect 142 Hirak members who are still in preventive detention.

Nearly a year after the movement began, Hirak protesters continue to demand systemic reform and the resignation of government officials.

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