Politics & Economics

Algeria: Hundreds Of Lawyers Come Out To Protest

North Africa

Hundreds of lawyers have come out to protest in Algiers to demand the release of political prisoners and support the public movement.

Lawyers have gathered from various parts of Algeria to the capital, Algiers, to protest against the state of the judicial courts in the country, which they see as being excessively tied to the political institutions, and especially to the military figures that currently represent the political elite during Algeria’s transition from the long-running rule of former President Abduleziz Bouteflika.

Algeria has seen protests since February this year, as a result of which Bouteflika was forced to resign in April. Nevertheless, the democratic movement has been stifled by the transitional rule of military figures who have influenced judicial decisions on the unjustified arrests of political and social activists.

The most recent protests have been directed at the decision of the transitional government to hold elections in December of this year. Demonstrators believe that the military establishment in government have erected structural barriers to the running of free and fair elections on an equal playing field, despite claims by the Army that it will not interfere in the electoral process. The transitional government has already called for protesters to cease their demonstrations in the lead-up to the elections. The security forces are already making preparations in anticipation of anti-election protests.

The lawyers out on the streets of Algiers are demanding the independence of the judicial courts from the political establishment. They are calling for the release of political prisoners who they believe have been unjustifiably detained by the country’s security forces. These recent demonstrations are said to have been organised by Ahmed Saie, the head of Algeria’s National Association of Lawyers.

Various media and civil society outlets have been reporting news of arrests made against individuals who have in one way or another supporting the protest movement in Algeria, part of which has come under the umbrella of “Hirak”. Certain demonstrators have also been arrested for brandishing symbols deemed to be offensive to the integrity of the Algerian state, including the Amazigh flag.