Thousands Protest In Algiers Despite Tight Security

Algerian protesters take part in a demonstration against the country’s army chief in Algeria’s capital Algiers on September 20, 2019, as the police toughens its line ahead of December elections.
AFP

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Algerian capital on Friday in defiance of a heavy security presence to demand the ouster of the country’s army chief.

Demonstrators gathered near the capital’s main post office square, the epicentre of Algeria’s protest movement that forced longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down in April, this time calling for the ouster of General Ahmed Gaid Salah.

“The people want the fall of Gaid Salah,” the strongman in post-Bouteflika Algeria, they chanted. “Take us all to prison, the people will not stop.”

Friday’s protest marked Algeria’s 31st consecutive week of rallies, but protesters faced a heavy deployment of security forces in the city centre and along its main avenues.

Salah on Wednesday ordered police to block protesters from outside Algiers entering the capital to boost numbers at the anti-regime rallies.

The tougher line on protests came just days after interim president Abdelkader Bensalah announced a December 12 date for a presidential election to fill the vacuum left by Bouteflika’s departure.

 

The army chief has led the push for polls by the end of 2019, despite mass protests demanding political reforms and the removal of the former president’s loyalists — including Gaid Salah himself — before any vote.

In the runup to the latest rally, as on previous Fridays, police made several arrests near the square, AFP photographers said.

Police stopped vehicles on main streets in the capital and an AFP journalist saw officers in plainclothes ask for identity papers, before some were led off to nearby vans.

As a police helicopter scoured the skies, security forces also stopped cars headed towards the city centre from its southwest entrance, where a dozen anti-riot police vans were stationed.

Said Salhi, deputy head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights, condemned the heightened security measures as “illegal”.

Demonstrations have officially been banned in Algiers since 2001 but the prohibition had been ignored since rallies started on February 22 against the ailing Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth presidential term.

Five Members Of One Family Killed In Algiers Building Collapse

 

Five members of the same family were killed Monday when a dilapidated building collapsed in the Algerian capital’s UNESCO-listed Casbah district, officials said.

The four-storey building in the historic Old City was located across the street from the landmark Ketchaoua Mosque, which was built during Ottoman rule.

Rescuers and sniffer dogs combed the rubble all day to recover the bodies and to search for survivors.

Residents said the victims were a man, his wife, the man’s brother and two children; one a child aged eight and the other a baby a few months old.

They had been squatting in the building, after its formal occupants had been evacuated several months ago by the authorities due to concerns about the structure, residents said.

Residents blamed authorities for the tragedy and chased away the governor of Algiers when he arrived at the site, forcing him to leave the scene surrounded by bodyguards and police, an AFP reporter said.

A few hours later state television announced the sacking of the governor, and the dismissal of five others from the country’s 48 provinces, without giving any explanation.

A woman at the scene said the building “was falling into ruins” and should have been “renovated or destroyed”.

She said authorities had fixed the facade of the building for the inauguration of Katchaoua Mosque last year after the latter underwent three years of renovation.

AFP

Team Nigeria Dominate Para Powerlifting In Algiers

Team Nigeria in Algiers

 

Team Nigeria have emerged the overall winner at the world Para Powerlifting African Championships in Algiers.

13 athletes represented the country and produced 11 gold and 2 silver medals.

Shade Oluwafemiayo, Loveline Obiji, Latifa Tijani and Esther Onyema ruled their categories.

Yakubu Adesokan, Roland Ezuruike, Kehinde Paul, Innocent Nnamdi and Ebere Okpala also won gold in their events.

Bose Omolayo produced a new world record in the women’s 79kg, lifting 139-point 5kg to smash the previous one that was set at 138 point 5kg.

The championship also serves as qualifying process for the 2020 Olympic games.

AYC Prep: Flying Eagles Play Draw In Final Warm-Up

In their last preparation match ahead of their African Youth Championship (AYC) quest in Algeria, Nigeria’s U-20 Flying Eagles drew 2-2 yesterday with Club Africain in Tunis.

Billed to leave for Algeria after the game against Club Africain, the injection of Olanrewaju Kayode gave the squad the first goal after 34 minutes from inside the six-yard box after a fantastic play and Club Africain replied with an equaliser a minute later.

Aliyu Goyi a left back player almost put the Flying Eagles ahead again in the 52nd minute with his stunning move, but his low shot was close to target.

Club Africain however took the lead after Goyi’s narrow miss with a penalty kick which the Flying Eagles conceded after a foul inside the box.

The first team side of the Club Africain as opposed to Nigeria’s U-20 side bowed to pressure from the junior boys in the 70th minute after Kayode’s superb chance could not be knocked off by Afrcain’s goalkeeper as he rounded him up and claimed the goal for Flying Eagles.

Flying Eagles proved a better side but couldn’t go further by showing it on the score sheet as they were denied several scintillating chances.

The Flying Eagles will fly out to Algiers on Wednesday afternoon, while their opening Group B match will be on Sunday, March 17 against Mali.