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  • Police officers and demonstrators confront each others during a protest against the country's ruling elite and rejecting a December presidential election in Algiers, Algeria October 22, 2019.

    Police officers and demonstrators confront each others during a protest against the country's ruling elite and rejecting a December presidential election in Algiers, Algeria October 22, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 October 2019
Opinion

Lawyers carrying Algerian flags marched through the capital chanting "justice was sold by traitors" before gathering outside Sidi M'hamed court.

Hundreds of lawyers took to the streets of Algiers Thursday calling for justice reform and an end to arrests and trials without evidence.

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"Today we demand the independence of the justice authority," said a lawyer who participated in the protests, adding that the "justice authority must be independent, we have to get rid of telephone justice (arrests and trials without evidence), we have to get rid of revenge justice, and to build a country of law we need a strong and independent justice system."

Last week, a court ordered the detention of a journalist and activist on charges of "undermining the morale of the army", according to a committee that defends detainees.

"The detained are Algeria's heroes, they are our heroes and they have to set them free because they are free to express their opinions and what they want," said another lawyer.

The mass demonstrations began in February and have continued since Bouteflika’s departure, with the loose-knit opposition movement demanding that all figures associated with him also leave and that the army play a smaller role in state affairs.

Over the summer the authorities have made concessions by arresting more prominent figures linked to Bouteflika on corruption charges while increasing the pressure on protesters with tougher policing.

Dozens of Bouteflika allies including two former prime ministers, two former intelligence chiefs, ministers and influential business tycoons have been put behind bars on corruption charges, but the protesters are calling for wider measures to overturn the old order.

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