Human Rights Watch condemns "tightening of the screws" on protests in Algeria

Human Rights Watch in a report Monday accused the Algerian authorities of "tightening the noose" on the protest movement that has been shaking the country since February 22, condemning arrests and violations of freedom of expression and assembly and tight security measures. .

"The authorities arrested people for peacefully carrying a banner or banner of protest, imprisoned a veteran of the Independence War for criticizing the army, banned meetings of political and non-governmental groups and blocked a known news site," the rights group said in a report.

She pointed out that every Friday, with the weekly demonstrations taking place some 30 weeks ago, "police forces are deployed in the streets and squares of the capital and at checkpoints to effectively reduce the number of people who are able to reach the march."

"The Algerian authorities initially tolerated the millions of protests that began in February to demand political reform, but have now shifted their orientation," Amnesty International's acting director of the Middle East and North Africa division told Lama Faqih.

Around 40 protesters arrested on 21 June for raising the Amazigh banner are still in custody and are under investigation for "undermining the integrity of the nation and the homeland," a charge of 10 years in prison, the report said.

"Waving the flag of an ethnic society is a peaceful expression protected by" international conventions signed by Algeria, Amnesty said.

On August 27, the authorities banned a rally called the Youth Action Group, a civilian organization, and another of the Forces for Democratic Alternative Forces, a three-party coalition.

In August, authorities arrested Human Rights Watch official Ahmed Ben Shamsi while he was observing a demonstration, detaining him for 10 hours, confiscating his passport for 10 days without notifying him of any charge and then deporting him from the country, the report said.

A number of foreign journalists have been expelled since April, including the head of the AFP bureau in Algiers, delegates from Reuters and Turkey's TRT. To him all over Algeria.

"As the authorities violated the rights and intensified their repression of the opposition, the protesters began preparing for larger marches in September," she told Lama Faqih.

 

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