Algerian Police Closely Watches Demonstrations, Confiscates Anti-Army Commander Banners

Algerian police and gendarmerie deployed their forces in the center of the capital on Thursday in preparation to control the demonstrations that took place today (Friday).

Unions, associations, and mass of people involved in the popular movement prepared to organize a conference, the first of its kind on June 15, to discuss a plan to end this impasse before presenting it to the army leadership.

Significant security reinforcements have been observed since early Thursday morning in the capital’s main squares, in which weekly popular gatherings take place, as well as in its suburbs. Cars and trucks were subjected to thorough inspection.

The gendarmerie and police confiscated all the banners with negative phrases against Army Chief of Staff General Gaid Salah, so that the movement wouldn’t leave a hostile impression to the army commander, who has become the country’s actual ruler.

Salah has been severely attacked in recent protests for refusing to meet all demands, particularly removing interim president Abdelkader Ben Salah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

Slogans prepared for the demonstrations today (Friday) all carried one clear message, which is rejecting any idea that calls for organizing new presidential elections after canceling that scheduled for July 4.

Algeria’s constitutional council said on Sunday it was impossible to stage the poll to choose a successor to former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika early next month, after the only two candidates were rejected.

Ben Salah was assigned to reform an electoral body and set a new date for the controversial ballot.

Protesters don’t want to elect a president under Ben Salah’s authority regardless of the election dates planned by the authority in November.

In order to achieve this, the current government is considering the possibility of sacrificing Bedoui and his crew members, who have been publicly rejected as “remnants of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime.”

The popular movement’s prominent figures intend to maintain their momentum and avoid extremist slogans against the army leadership, and they have been keen to also avoid engaging in quarrels with security forces.

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