Security forces used batons and fired tear gas at protesters in the capital, Algiers.
Thousands of people demonstrated in central Algiers on Friday for the second time this week, confirming the resumption of street protests that had ceased for nearly a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Protesters were greeted by security forces who used batons and fired tear gas when a crowd forced their way through a police barrier to reach the Grand Post Office, Algiers’ main rallying point for the Hirak anti-government movement, images published on the Interlignes news site shown.
The weekly street protests that began in February 2019 prompted the military to force former veteran President Abdelaziz Bouteflika out of power in the biggest shock to the Algerian political system in decades, stopping only for a lockdown of the government. COVID-19 in March of last year.
Hirak protesters are calling for a complete overhaul of the old ruling elite, an end to corruption and the military’s withdrawal from politics.
Protesters chanted “peaceful, peaceful” and “our demands are legitimate” on Friday as they walked through the city center amid a large police presence.
“We are still able to achieve all of our goals,” said Farida Rechichi, a 25-year-old student at Algiers Law School.
“Neither Islamist nor secular, but Hirakist”, we read on a banner carried by the demonstrators.
Police vans have taken up positions near the main squares in the city center and roadblocks have been set up on several main roads leading to the capital.
While thousands took part in Friday’s march, however, the number was lower than those involved in the protests before last year’s lockdown, when tens of thousands regularly participated.
Gatherings were also held in some provinces, notably in northeastern Kabylia and northwestern Oran, where a prominent human rights activist, the academic Kaddour Chouicha, was arrested, according to the group. defense of the rights of CNLD prisoners.
A first protest after the lockdown took place last week in the eastern town of Kherrata. The first demonstration to resume in Algiers took place on Monday.