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.


Israel clears Palestinians from Jerusalem home claimed by settlers

Updated 17 February 2019
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Israel clears Palestinians from Jerusalem home claimed by settlers

  • Residents of the neighborhood in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli settlers took possession of the large building

JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Sunday evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City, after the supreme court ruled Jewish claimants were the rightful owners.
An AFP photographer said residents of the neighborhood in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem scuffled with police, who stood guard as about a dozen Israeli settlers took possession of the large building.
A police spokesman said two people were detained.
“They disturbed police activities,” he told AFP but could not say if they were subsequently released.
Rania Abu Asab, who lived in the house with her husband, their children and his aunt, stood weeping outside as the settlers raised the Israeli flag on the roof.
“We live there, it’s my house, it’s my whole life,” she said. “They took everything.”
She said the family was compelled to leave behind all its furniture and belongings.
Ir Amim, an Israeli watchdog group which monitors settlement activity in Jerusalem, reported on February 3 that the Abu Asab family had been served an eviction notice ordering them to vacate the property by February 12.
It said family members had lived there since the 1960s.
Israeli NGO Peace Now said the home originally belonged to a Jewish family which fled during the 1948 war which accompanied Israel’s foundation.
East Jerusalem was occupied during that conflict by Jordan until the 1967 Six-Day War, when it was seized by Israel and subsequently annexed, moves never recognized by the international community.
The Abu Asab family lived until 1948 in a neighborhood it fled before eventually moving to the home in question.
Peace Now said in a statement Sunday that under an Israeli law passed in 1950 Palestinians cannot return to homes they fled in 1948.
A 1970 act, however, decreed that property in east Jerusalem abandoned by Jewish owners could be reclaimed.
“The court granted the settlers the house and the Abu Asab family became refugees for the second time,” Peace Now said.