Algeria MPs padlock parliament in protest against speaker

Algerian deputies from the National Liberation Front (FLN) and National Democratic Rally (RND) block the entrance of the National People's Congress in Algiers. AFP
Updated 16 October 2018
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Algeria MPs padlock parliament in protest against speaker

  • Protesters block the entrance with a chain and padlock

ALGIERS: Around 200 deputies kept Algeria’s parliament locked up for several hours Tuesday in a protest to press demands for the house speaker to step down.
“We’re here to demand the speaker resigns,” Abdelhamid Si Affif, the head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, told AFP after the protesters blocked the entrance with a chain and padlock.
Said Bouhadja, president of Algeria’s lower house, has since late September resisted calls to resign over charges of “mismanagement, exaggerated and illicit expenses and dubious recruitment.”
“This doesn’t scare me. I will go to the People’s National Assembly (parliament) because I am the president of this institution,” Bouhadja told the TSA news website.
He did not, however, make an appearance at Tuesday’s protest, which lasted until around midday before the deputies dispersed.
Algeria’s constitution and laws do not lay down a procedure for the dismissal of a parliament speaker if he refuses to step aside.
But those pushing for the speaker’s exit said a meeting of senior lawmakers was being planned for Wednesday to oust Bouhadja and pave the way for a successor to be chosen.
Opposition groups condemned Tuesday’s action led by the majority parties in the 462-member parliament, including President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN) of which the speaker is a member.
Ahmed Sadok, parliamentary head of the Movement for the Society of Peace, an Islamist group, said the action “did no honor for the deputies, for parliament or the image of the country.”
“If the deputies of the majority no longer want to work with Mr.Bouhadja... their action must be legal. For the moment, there is nothing to prevent him carrying out his duties,” he said.


Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

Updated 17 November 2018
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Anti-Daesh coalition raids kill 43 in east Syria: monitor

  • Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border
  • Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters

BEIRUT: Air strikes by the US-led coalition Saturday killed 43 people, mostly civilians, in a Daesh holdout in eastern Syria, a Britain-based monitor said.
Seventeen children were among 36 Daesh family members killed in Abu Husn village of Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Another seven victims had not yet been identified as either civilians or Daesh fighters, it said.
The US-led coalition has been backing a Kurdish-Arab alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting to expel the extremists from the pocket around Abu Husn.
"It's the highest death toll in coalition air strikes since the SDF launched its attack against the IS pocket" in September, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
The coalition has repeatedly said it does its utmost to prevent civilian casualties.
"The avoidance of civilian casualties is our highest priority when conducting strikes against legitimate military targets with precision munitions," spokesman Sean Ryan told AFP this week.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.
But the militant group has since lost most of it to various offensives in both countries.
In Syria, the group has seen its presence reduced to parts of the vast Badia desert and the pocket in Deir Ezzor.
The coalition has since 2014 acknowledged direct responsibility for over 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.