Arrests in Algeria ahead of weekly protests

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Algerian demonstrators, draped in national flags, stand in front of security forces during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 24, 2019. (AFP)
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An Algerian demonstrator gestures in front of security forces during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 24, 2019. (AFP)
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Algerian protesters shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 24, 2019. (AFP)
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Algerian protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 24, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 24 May 2019

Arrests in Algeria ahead of weekly protests

  • Several hundred protesters gathered near the Grand Post Office on Friday, but they were kept at bay by a police cordon and a row of vehicles
  • Local news site TSA reported police in Algiers made “massive arrests among the protesters”

ALGIERS: Algerian police arrested dozens of people on Friday at the Grand Post Office, a key rallying point for protesters in the capital Algiers, witnesses and journalists said.
An AFP journalist saw a woman arrested near the post office, where security fences were erected this week in an attempt to prevent demonstrators accessing the site.
Several hundred protesters gathered near the building on Friday, but they were kept at bay by a police cordon and a row of vehicles.
“Patrols criss-crossed the city and arrested anyone suspected of joining the rally,” Said Salhi, vice president of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights, said on Twitter.
“It seems they (the authorities) want to ban the rally,” he added.
The protest movement forced president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down on April 2, after two decades in power.
But rallies — now into a fourteenth week — have continued each Friday, to pressure army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, interim President Abdelkader Bensalah and others to leave office.
“Tired of the generals!,” “Gaid Salah resign!,” protesters chanted Friday.
Mehenna Abdeslam, a protester and a university teacher, told AFP he witnessed “the police systematically arrest anyone carrying a banner.”
But “we will not stop” demonstrating, he added.
Local news site TSA reported police in Algiers made “massive arrests among the protesters.”
It also noted a heavy presence of female police officers, for the first time since the protests began.
A presidential election that was originally due to take place in April is scheduled for July 4, but the protest movement wants the poll scrapped, in the absence of new independent institutions to oversee voting.


Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

Updated 21 min 44 sec ago

Macron slams Turkey’s aggression in Syria as ‘madness’, bewails NATO inaction

  • EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities as demanded by the US is not a genuine cease-fire
  • He calls on Ankara to immediately stop military operations,

BRUSSELS/ANKARA: Macron critizes Turkey's aggression in Syria as "madness', bewails NATO inaction

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has bemoaned Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria as “madness” and decried NATO’s inability to react to the assault as a “serious mistake.”

“It weakens our credibility in finding partners on the ground who will be by our side and who think they will be protected in the long term. So that raises questions about how NATO functions.”

EU Council President Donald Tusk said the halt of Turkish hostilities is not a genuine cease-fire and called on Ankara to immediately stop military operations in Syria.

Dareen Khalifa, a senior Syria analyst at the International Crisis Group, said the cease-fire had unclear goals. 

There was no mention of the scope of the area that would be under Turkish control and, despite US Vice President Mike Pence referring to a 20-mile zone, the length of the zone remains ambiguous, she said.

Selim Sazak, a doctoral researcher at Brown University, believed the agreement would be implemented and the YPG would withdraw.

“The agency of the YPG is fairly limited. If the deal collapses because of the YPG, it’s actually all the better for Ankara,” he told Arab News. “What Ankara originally wanted was to take all of the belt into its control and eliminate as many of the YPG forces as possible. Instead, the YPG is withdrawing with a portion of its forces and its territory intact. Had the deal collapsed because of the YPG, Ankara would have reason to push forward, this time with much more legitimacy.”