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Algeria labels opposition movements as terrorist groups

Algeria labels opposition movements as terrorist groups
Algerians shout slogans during an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers on May 7, 2021.   -  
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RYAD KRAMDI/AFP or licensors


Algerian authorities on Tuesday labelled separatist group MAK and an opposition movement as terrorist organisations.

The High Council for National Security said the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK) and the Rachad opposition group were illegal and terrorist entities.

In April, the MAK, was accused by the Algerian authorities of planning attacks during the anti-government protests in the streets of Algiers.

The Mak is based in Paris and wants to split the ethnic Berber region of Kabylie from the rest of Algeria. It is accused by Algerian authorities of having separatist aims and anti-Arab sentiment.

On Wednesday, the head of Mak Ferhat Mehenni denounced the Algerian government's "obsession" to qualify the organisation as a terrorist group.

Mehenni also denounced police holding him in custody for a few hours as part of an investigation for money laundering in an organised gang.

"The MAK is not a terrorist organization and will never commit acts of violence. If there is violence, it can only be done by the Algerian services," he said.

The Rachad group is based in London and is an opposition political movement, which calls for a regime change in Algeria.

Members of these groups will now be convicted under a new law that punishes any Algerian joining an organisation abroad that "damages the interests of the country".

Ahead of the legislative elections scheduled for 12 June, the Algerian authorities are facing the challenge of popular protests and calls for a boycott of the elections.

Dozens of journalists and activists have been arrested for supporting the popular protests and criticising the government, according to rights groups.

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