More than 80 detained in Algiers protest, says rights group

Demonstrators were out on the streets of Algiers on Thursday for the second night in a row, protesting over the December presidential election. (Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2019

More than 80 detained in Algiers protest, says rights group

  • Demonstrators express their fears that presidential poll will be rigged

ALGIERS: Authorities arrested more than 80 people during a night-time protest in the Algerian capital, a prisoners’ rights group said on Friday.

Demonstrators have been protesting against next month’s presidential election which they allege aims to cement in power a political elite linked to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Bouteflika quit in April after popular pressure.

The CNLD prisoners’ rights committee said most of those detained in Thursday night’s protest were taken to police stations in the suburbs of Algiers.

Hundreds of Algerians had turned out for the second night in a row to voice their anger over the presidential poll set for Dec. 12.

They did so hours after an examining magistrate charged 29 people arrested during a similar protest on Wednesday night with holding an “unauthorized gathering.”

Five candidates are to contest next month’s election after the ailing Bouteflika, 82, was forced to step down after mass demonstrations in February against his bid for a fifth term.

Algeria has since seen weekly protests demanding major reforms to a political system that has been in place since independence from France in 1962.

On Friday, several hundred people had already gathered in central Algiers hours before the start of the 40th weekly protests, journalists posted on social networks.

Dozens of people have been arrested since the election campaign began last Sunday. Four were sentenced on Monday to 18 months in jail and 14 received suspended terms for disrupting a meeting.

“This is a campaign of repression, not an election campaign,” chanted protesters seen in video footage released online by the independent news site TSA.


Jordanian charged with ‘terror’ over tourist stabbings

Updated 23 min 23 sec ago

Jordanian charged with ‘terror’ over tourist stabbings

  • The suspect, Moustafa Abourouis, 22, faces up to 20 years in prison
  • Prosecutors accused Abourouis of committing a “terrorist act” and “promoting the ideas of a terrorist group”

AMMAN: A Jordanian court on Sunday levelled “terrorism” charges against a man suspected of wounding eight people in a November knife attack at a popular tourist site.
The suspect, Moustafa Abourouis, 22, faces up to 20 years in prison after the stabbing of three Mexicans, a Swiss woman, a Jordanian tour guide and a security officer at the Roman city of Jerash.
At a hearing open to the press, prosecutors accused Abourouis of committing a “terrorist act” and “promoting the ideas of a terrorist group” — a reference to the Daesh group.
Abourouis, who is of Palestinian origins and grew up in the refugee camp of Souf, was arrested immediately after the attack at Jerash, close to the camp and around 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Amman.
The Jordanian prosecutor accused Abourouis of trying to join Daesh, an operative of which in Syria had “ordered him to commit attacks against foreigners.”
Two alleged accomplices, also Jordanians of Palestinian origin, were charged with “terrorism” in the same case. All three pleaded not guilty.
The court is scheduled to hear witnesses next Sunday, with the date for a verdict to be confirmed.
It was not the first time a Jordanian tourist attraction has been attacked.
In December 2016, in Karak, home to one of the region’s biggest Crusader castles, 10 people — seven police, two Jordanian civilians and a Canadian tourist — were killed in an attack that also left 30 wounded.
That attack was claimed by Daesh and 10 people were later convicted of carrying out the assault, two of them sentenced to death.
Tourism is a key lifeline for Jordan, a country lacking in natural resources and reliant on foreign aid. The sector accounted for 14 percent of GDP in 2019.
The kingdom, bordering conflict-torn Syria and Iraq, has been working to revive its tourism industry and aims to attract seven million holidaymakers a year.