Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Algeria releases 3,000 prisoners in an attempt to calm protests

North African country is approaching one year of anti-government demonstrations

Algerian protesters chant as they take part in an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers. AFP
Algerian protesters chant as they take part in an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers. AFP

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday pardoned more than 3,000 prisoners serving sentences less than six months as he seeks to win support after months of political turmoil.

Mr Tebboune, elected in December in a vote opposed by a protest movement seeking the replacement of the entire ruling elite, said his top priority was to restore confidence.

Thousands of people are still protesting every Friday, but the numbers appear to have waned since Mr Tebboune's election and his offer of talks with the opposition.

Last month he also ordered the release of dozens of people who had been detained for taking part in the protests.

He has also promised a process to offer constitutional amendments to the public through a referendum, to give parliament a bigger role and increase political freedoms.

A court in Algiers on Monday acquitted Samir Benlarbi, an activist and a leading member of the protest movement who had been detained for over four months for "harming the national unity".

Several other activists are still in detention pending trail in Algiers and other towns, but it was unclear whether the 3,471 people pardoned on Tuesday include those detained for involvement in the recent political unrest.

Updated: February 5, 2020 01:34 PM

Editor's Picks
THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Popular