Algerians rally even after ex-premiers detained

1 / 4
Algerians brandishing national flags take part in a weekly demonstration in the capital Algiers on June 14, 2019. (AFP)
2 / 4
Algerians brandishing national flags take part in a weekly demonstration in the capital Algiers on June 14, 2019. (AFP)
3 / 4
An Algerian man raises a placard as he takes part in a weekly demonstration in the capital Algiers on June 14, 2019. (AFP)
4 / 4
Algerians brandishing national flags take part in a weekly demonstration in the capital Algiers on June 14, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2019

Algerians rally even after ex-premiers detained

  • The protest came a day after former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal joined a long list of prominent politicians and businessmen who have been detained as part of investigations into corruption
  • Thursday’s supreme court decision against Sellal, an ally of ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, came a day after another former premier, Ahmed Ouyahia, was also remanded in custody as part of a graft probe

ALGIERS: Demonstrators rallied in the Algerian capital Friday to keep up their demands for the ouster of all officials linked to the former president, unappeased by the detention of two ex-premiers.
The protest came a day after former prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal joined a long list of prominent politicians and businessmen who have been detained as part of investigations into corruption.
“Thieves, you have pillaged the country,” the crowds of protesters marching in Algiers chanted.
“They deserve what they got... and they must be held accountable by the people for their actions,” said protester Mohammed, who declined to give his surname.
Thursday’s supreme court decision against Sellal, an ally of ex-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, came a day after another former premier, Ahmed Ouyahia, was also remanded in custody as part of a graft probe.
“Jailing Ouyahia and Sellal is an excellent thing,” said Cherif Tigrin, a 40-year-old carpenter taking part in the massive rally in the center of Algiers.
“But we must continue” to protest as long as Bouteflika’s cronies remain in power, he said.
Algerians have been holding massive protests since February, after an ailing Bouteflika announced plans to seek a fifth term in office.
The veteran leader resigned on April 2 as the pressure against him to quit mounted from all sides, only hours after army chief and close ally General Ahmed Gaid Salah demanding impeachment proceedings against him.
Gaid Salah has since emerged as a key power broker in the North African country.
Although the army chief has ordered anti-corruption investigations in the country, according to observers, he has not won favor with the demonstrators who are also calling for his departure.
“Gaid Salah to the (rubbish) bin,” protesters chanted on Friday, according to footage posted online by local journalists.
They also called on interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and his prime minister, Noureddine Bedoui, to step down.
Several demonstrators also held up signs to mark the 18th anniversary of the “Black Spring” bloody riots of 2001, sparked by the death of a high school student in a police station in the Kabylie region.
The mountainous Kabylie region east of Algiers is home to the largest Berber community in Algeria who have long suffered marginalization.
“April 2001 and February 2019... the struggle continues,” read one of the signs.
Demonstrations also took place Friday in several other Algerian cities and towns, according to social media reports.
It was not immediately clear, however, how many protesters took to the streets nationwide as official figures were unavailable.


Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

Updated 43 min 31 sec ago

Iran’s threat to destroy Tel Aviv from Lebanon condemned

  • Lebanon is not an arena for external use by any country, says information minister

BEIRUT: A statement by a senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has triggered a series of condemnations in Lebanon, after he claimed the country could be used for military strikes.

Maj. Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: “If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon,” according to Russia Today, adding he claimed his words were “a response to Israeli statements about launching military action against Tehran.”

“Iran is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and Israel is too small to make any mistake toward Iran. If the Supreme Leader orders a missile attack against Israel, all Zionists will raise their hands and surrender. 

“The hearts and souls of the people of Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq are with Iran, and the recent events in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran aim to strike the unity of the resistance front, including the Islamic Republic.”

In response to the statement, Lebanon’s Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab said: “If what is attributed to (Qorbani) is correct, it is unacceptable and it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon, which has a relationship of friendship with Iran.”

The minister, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement allied to Hezbollah, stressed: “The independence of the Lebanese must not be affected in any way.”

Farid Al-Bustani, a member of the parliamentary bloc affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement, said: “If this is true, it is a violation of the sovereignty of Lebanon on the one hand and the status and immunity of the resistance on the other.”

FASTFACTS

● Iran’s Gen. Morteza Qorbani told Mizan News: ‘If the Zionist regime makes the smallest mistake toward Iran, we will reduce Tel Aviv to ashes from Lebanon.’

● Lebanon’s Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as ‘irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.’

Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah described the words as “irresponsible and arrogant, constituting an affront to the sovereignty of Lebanon, the people and the state.

“Iran can defend itself however it wants, but Lebanon is not a mailbox for the IRGC and is not an arena for external use by any country. These words are completely unacceptable.”

The president of the Independence Movement, Michel Moawad, criticized Qorbani’s statement, while member of Parliament Nadim Gemayel demanded a “clear position on these words from Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, President of the Republic Michel Aoun and from (Prime Minister) Saad Hariri.”

Hezbollah’s Ibrahim Al-Moussawi tweeted: “In light of the enemy’s (Israeli) occupation of Palestine, parts of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the threat against Egypt, and the Zionist appetite open to our oil, gas and water, any call to neutrality is misleading and suspicious, and it is a betrayal of the homeland, right and justice, and meets the enemy’s goals intentionally or unintentionally.

“Neutrality is at best a delusion and at its worst is treachery. Reject it.”