Angered by years of political corruption and mismanagement that have created a large budget deficit and high unemployment, Algerians have been protesting since February 2019 when the anti-government movement, known as the Hirak, brought down a president and paved the way for some high-profile corruption prosecutions.
Thousands of anti-government protesters in the capital, Algiers, rallied for the third time last week, despite fears from Covid-19. PSI Algerian affiliates, along with the other demonstrators, chanted slogans and carried flags and banners as they marched toward the city center after Friday prayers.
They shouted: "The people want the fall of the regime," "Free and democratic Algeria", “Thieves, you have destroyed the country,” and "Civil state, not military state" — a reference to the dominance of the military in Algerian politics.
Demonstrators were met by security forces who fired tear gas and used truncheons when a crowd forced its way through a police barrier in the capital.
PSI affiliates reported: “Hundreds were arrested before the start of the marches, security forces harassed women, men and the elderly. At the end of the marches, after a decrease in the number of demonstrators, the escalation intensified and the fierce repression by plain clothed and uniformed police led to many arrests. A woman protester was beaten, she fell to the ground and was kicked by men in uniform and plain clothes; they broke her front tooth, her mouth started bleeding. Her two daughters (11 and 15 years old) were with her and witnessed this brutal and unjustified assault.”
Hundreds of trade unionists are participating in these protests while the Algerian government continues clamping down on independent unions, arbitrarily arresting trade unionists and prosecuting some of them on criminal charges that appear to have little basis and are founded on the peaceful exercise of their trade union activities. The State's policy is to limit the fundamental trade union rights guaranteed by the Algerian Constitution and international agreements and treaties.