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Hirak: Algerians protest against arrest of students

Algerian anti-government protesters take the streets of Algiers on March 26, 2021 as the Hirak pro-democracy movement keeps up its weekly demonstrations   -  
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RYAD KRAMDI / AFP

Algeria

Algerians retook to the streets demanding the release of students who were arrested during Friday's anti-government Hirak movement protest.

On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Sidi Mohamed Tribunal in the capital Algiers.

Authorities arrested activist and poet Mohamed Tadjadit and six others.

But they were released later on Sunday, one of the detainees lawyers told AFP.

"We are here today for our brothers: The university student Abdel Nour and my brother Mohamed Tagadet, who was arrested in Odan Square," said activist Najib Khaimud.

"This is called kidnapping and not an arbitrary detention as if they are terrorists. These acts (detention) are of terrorism. We came here today and we will not stop until they are released."

Friday's protest demanded reforms to Algeria's government and was against President Tabboune's call for an early June election in response to the country's socio-economic crisis. Slogans were chanted against those in power and the army.

Demonstrations were also held in Oran and in Mostaganem, where police used pepper spray to disperse crowds, a local journalist requesting anonymity told AFP.

The Hirak movement was sparked in February 2019 over then-president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office. The ailing strongman was forced to step down weeks later,

The group is now demanding a full overhaul to the political system and changes to the country's government and political system.

Rallies have been suspended since March last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the movement’s second anniversary on February 22, thousands have continued to defy the ban on gatherings.

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