Large numbers of police and security forces deployed in the center of the Algerian capital, today, Monday, and tightened control over all its entrances, in anticipation of possible demonstrations marking the two-year anniversary of the popular movement against the regime.
And calls for demonstrations spread on social media throughout the country, especially in Algiers, on the occasion of the anniversary of the movement.
The movement was forced to suspend its weekly demonstrations last March, due to the spread of the Corona virus and the authorities’ decision to prevent all gatherings.
Coinciding with the anniversary, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune signed a presidential decree related to the dissolution of the National People’s Assembly, and he also made a government reshuffle, in which he kept Abdelaziz Jarad as first minister. A few days ago, President Tebboune announced early legislative elections.
Prior to the commemoration of the second anniversary ceremonies of the movement, residents of the suburbs found it very difficult to reach their workplaces in the center of the capital, due to the great congestion due to the security checkpoints at the entrances to the city, especially from the eastern side, witnesses confirmed to Agence France-Presse.
“I came from Hammadi (in Boumerdes province, 30 kilometers east of the capital), and I had to set out at five in the morning instead of seven in order to reach my office in the center of the capital,” said Hamid, 54, a civil servant.
“I spent two and a half hours in traffic jams because of the security checkpoints of the gendarmerie and then the police. They were checking all the cars.”
As for Munir (47 years), an employee at a bank in the center of the capital, he told AFP that he had taken precautions, explaining, “I knew that the roads would be closed because of the movement, so I left home early.”
He added, “I live in the Gate of Ezzouar (the eastern suburb) and the avoidance road is closed to the end near the Sea Pine near the Great Mosque of Algiers, where the police set up a checkpoint.”
Monday, February 22, marks the second anniversary of the 2019 movement, when Algeria witnessed unprecedented popular demonstrations, and two months later forced President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign from his post.
However, the first demonstrations began five days before this date in Kharata, in the east of the country, which became known as the cradle of the Hirak, and on February 16th, it celebrated mass demonstrations.
On Thursday, about 40 detainees from the movement’s activists were released, among them journalist Khaled Dararni, who became a symbol of the struggle for freedom of the press in his country.
The president also issued a presidential decree to upgrade 10 administrative districts in the south to states with full powers, which raises the number of Algerian provinces to 58.
The Algerian president also chaired a regular meeting of the Supreme Security Council, which, according to a statement by the Algerian presidency, was devoted to assessing the country’s general situation on the security, political and economic levels.
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