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11 Dec 2019 | 07:32 AM UTC

Algeria: Protests reported in Algiers December 11 /update 55

Protesters in Algiers mobilize one day before the presidential election to voice discontent December 11; heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions expected to continue

security
transportation
DZA

Event

Protesters have gathered in Algiers on Wednesday, December 11, the day prior to the presidential elections, to voice their discontent and call for the election to be canceled. Media reports indicate that several thousands gathered in the capital in the effort, notably at Place du 11 Décembre 1960 in the Belouizdad district. Riot police reportedly blocked protesters in certain directions along the march. 

Heightened security measures and business disruptions are to be expected throughout the day on Thursday, as well as spontaneous protests and the possibility of violent clashes.

Context

Five candidates are running in the presidential election: Abdelmajid Tebboune, Ali Benflis, Azzeddine Mihoubi, Abdelkader Bengrina, and Abdelaziz Belaid, most of which have served in high level ministerial roles in previous governments. Part of the population has vowed to boycott the election, as they oppose the list of candidates due to their links to the former regime. Independent candidates were not allowed to run by the interim military government. This tension has produced continued nationwide protests, and some outlets have stated that the government has repressed the protests with heavy hands.

Algeria is operating under an interim government, installed since former President Abdul-Aziz Bouteflika left office in April. On September 15, Interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced that presidential elections would be held on December 12, following months of political tensions in Algeria sparked by former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's intention to run for a fifth term. An interim government was approved on March 31, though protesters have continued to hold demonstrations. Presidential elections previously set for July 4 were called off by the Algerian Constitutional Council after the only two candidates were rejected.

Advice

Individuals in Algiers and across Algeria are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and anticipate a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to business and transportation around protest sites.