The senior officer of the Algerian Army, Ahmad Gaid Salah, has warned protesters in Algeria that their attempts at blocking the elections will be prevented.
The presidential elections were recently announced to take place on 12 December by interim President Abdelkadar Bensalah. Nevertheless, the series of protests, which led to the resignation of former long-standing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April, have been continuing consistently since they broke out in February and have also targeted the current interim regime that has called for the elections.
In the latest protests, thousands of students took to the streets of the capital Algiers to reject the calls for participating in the elections at the end of the year. The students gathered in large crowds chanting “No Election”. Arrests of protesters and civil society activists have become more rampant over recent weeks in an attempt to quash the momentum that has been carrying through since February. Even a political from France, Mathilde Panot, a member of la France Insoumise led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, was detained recently for engaging with members of the protest movement in Algeria.
These arrests are considered to mark a precedent for what is to come. Protests are expected to continue right up to the holding of elections in December, however, the military establishment is keen to suppress the momentum of demonstrations in order to ensure to smooth running of elections. Arrests are expected to pick up and there is a fear that the intransigence of protesters will lead to violence between them and the security apparatus.
Elections were set to take place in July, however a shortage of candidates meant that they were postponed to the end of this year. Members of the military establishment have taken positions of political power since the resignation of Bouteflika in April. Despite the fact that the military establishment has claimed that it will not support any candidate in the elections, protesters believe that the establishment has made it difficult for candidates who are not warm to the military figures to record success in the elections.