Algerian students hold anti-government protests

AFP , Tuesday 23 Feb 2021

The protests on Monday were the largest since the weekly demonstrations were suspended

Demonstrators take part in a protest marking two years since the start of a mass protest movement demanding political change, in Algiers, Algeria February 22, 2021. REUTERS

Dozens of Algerian students defied police Tuesday to demonstrate in the capital Algiers, a day after major protests for the second anniversary of mass anti-government rallies.

The "Hirak" protest movement forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power in 2019, and before the protests were stalled amid Covid-19 restrictions last year, marches were held every Tuesday.

A mass rally in Algiers was held on Monday to mark the protests that kicked off on February 22, 2019, to oppose Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term.

The protests on Monday were the largest since the weekly demonstrations were suspended.

On Tuesday, students continued, despite police deploying in force before dawn in the centre of Algiers, especially at Martyrs' Square, where student marches used to begin.

Several dozen students and activists managed to walk a short distance shouting slogans before police stopped the march.

"We are students and not terrorists," some chanted, according to AFP journalists. "A free and democratic Algeria," others shouted.

The CNLD prisoners' rights group said three students and five other activists were arrested.

Protesters demand a sweeping overhaul of a ruling system in place since Algeria's independence from France in 1962.

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