Opponents say a new way to suppress Hirak’s protests ahead of parliamentary elections in June.
Algeria will ban illegal protests, the country’s Interior Ministry has announced, a move that observers say is aimed at curbing protests that have been raging for years.
The announcement took place on Sunday as part of Hirak’s group demonstrations it grew in recent weeks a few months after becoming ill with coronavirus.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in February 2019 to protest against former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term.
The meetings culminated a few weeks after the patient’s departure.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that all demonstrations, many of which have been transformed into major demands on systemic change, will require approval for the names of those who are planning and the time to start and end the demonstrations.
“Failure to comply will result in violations of the law and the rule of law, which challenge the legitimacy of the process, and will be necessary to address this issue,” the ministry said.
Such a ban, even if granted, would mean naming the people responsible for the group that has not led so far.
This is in line with a legal decision approved by Algerian voters in November last year, in a referendum that only participated in the 25%, which required candidates to notify them before the protests.
Some critics believe that the ban is aimed at curbing all traffic.
“They want valid reasons for any decision to ban the march,” Hirak member Ahmed Badili told Reuters.
The ban came ahead of the first parliamentary elections on June 12 when President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was elected in December 2019 in a vote rejected by the opposition party, vowed to be fair and transparent.
While Tebboune publicly praised the rallies as a moment of national reform and dialogue with the group, security forces have retained protesters, and have been criticized by human rights groups.