Categories: World

AlgeriA: Anti-french Slogans And Calls For Unity In The March Of The Hirak

The anti-French slogans reappeared on Friday in the procession of anti-regime hirak demonstrators during their weekly march in Algiers, the day after the unexpected cancellation of the visit of French Prime Minister Jean Castex, scheduled for Sunday in the capital, noted the AFP. “France is back, young people stand up! “Shouted protesters, while placards were crossed out with slogans:” Where France arrives, it is destruction “,” Macron is clearing, you are not welcome in the land of the Martyrs “. A drawing showed a rooster, the symbol of France, pecking a map of the Maghreb country with the mention “Algeria is not for sale”. These slogans are recurrent during the parades of the hirak, the opponents accusing Paris of having openly sided with President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Mr. Castex’s visit was canceled Thursday evening at the request of Algiers, apparently unhappy with the size of the French ministerial delegation.

Calls for unity faced with a certain repression

The demonstrators also called for unity, noted AFP journalists, after the government warned the pro-democracy movement against “extremist slippages”. “It is an initiative to bring together all Algerians and to say that we are faced with a multiple and diverse hirak but united, because the union of Algerians is their strength,” said sociologist Nacer Djabi, a leader of the hirak. “United people! Chanted the demonstrators, reaffirming their opposition to the legislative elections organized by “the gang” in power on June 12. Mr. Tebboune denounced this week the “non-innocent activities” which “try to hinder the democratic process in Algeria”, and promised that in the future the state would be “uncompromising”. The High Security Council examined “the subversive acts and the serious slippages emanating from separatist circles and illegal movements close to terrorism, which exploit the steps” of the hirak, he said.

The demonstrators – whose number is difficult to assess in the absence of official figures – reiterated their demand for “independent justice”, the release of prisoners of conscience and castigated the repression and “criminalization of gatherings”. According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees (CNLD), a support association, around sixty people linked to the hirak are now behind bars, including thirty imprisoned since the marches last weekend. According to the CNLD, two demonstrators were arrested in Algiers, where the march dispersed peacefully.

The hirak in the middle of the ford

Demonstrations also took place elsewhere in the country, notably in Constantine, Annaba, Bouira, Tizi Ouzou, Béjaïa, Annaba (north-east) and Mostaganem (north-west), according to images posted on social networks. Born in February 2019 from the massive rejection of a fifth term of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the hirak calls for a radical change in the political “system” in place since independence in 1962. It is today accused by the authorities of being infiltrated by Islamist activists, heirs of the Islamic Salvation Front (dissolved in March 1992), who would seek to draw the hirak into a violent confrontation. This unprecedented popular movement in Algeria is plural, from the laity to the religious, and without real leadership or political structure. This exposes it to the risk of divisions and earned it criticism for its lack of unity and political proposals