Algeria to ban unauthorised protests in 'new crackdown'

Algeria wants protesters to say which banners they will use, as unauthorised demonstrations are banned
2 min read
11 May, 2021
Demonstrations in Algeria have continued, as the Hirak protest movement demands seeks deep changes in the country.
The Hirak in Algeria erupted in 2019 to oust long-time serving President Bouteflika [Getty]
Algeria will ban protests from taking place without prior approval from the government, more than two years after mass demonstrations ended the rule of long-term President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

An interior ministry statement said all protests would require a permit that specified the names of the organisers as well as start and finish times.

The measures come in line with a newly amended constitution from November last year.

Other conditions put in place by the new constitution, which had a very low voter turnout, was the location of the protests and what signs and banners would be raised.

The Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights expressed its resentment towards the new measures, saying they signal that "the new Algeria is being entrenched in dictatorship".

Protests have continued in Algeris following economic deterioration, which has been exacerbated by the fall in oil revenues and political deadlock.

The so called-Hirak protest movement was sparked in February 2019 over President Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term in office.

While the Hirak has continued its demonstrations demanding a complete overhaul of the ruling system - which has governed Algeria since its independence from France in 1962 - authorities claim it is being infiltrated by those who want to drag the country towards violence.

Several protesters and activists have been arrested since the protest movement began, drawing criticism from local and foreign human rights groups. Earlier this month, activist Amira Bouraoui was sentenced to two years in jail for "offending Islam" and for insulting President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, according to a prisoners' rights group.

"Despite his (the president's) promises of dialogue, authorities continued to arrest and imprison protesters, activists, and journalists in an attempt to muzzle the Hirak," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

After Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in February, protesters have taken to the streets in their thousands every Friday.

The restrictions come ahead of early parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

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