The United States and the European Union have called on the Algerian authorities to respect the rights of Algerian people to peaceful protest, freedom of assembly and of speech as the oil-rich country is rocked by popular protests against the candidacy of ailing and absent Pdt Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term.
The situation in Algeria, which is on the verge of implosion, raises regional and international concerns. In Washington, Robert Palladino, the State Department’s Deputy Spokesperson said on Tuesday: “We’re monitoring these protests that are happening in Algeria. We’re going to continue to do that”.
“The United States supports the Algerian people and their right to peacefully assemble”, he stressed.
In Brussels, the European Commission urged the Algerian authorities to respect the “freedom of expression and assembly” guaranteed by the Algerian constitution.
“When we talk about demonstrations, the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are enshrined in the Algerian Constitution” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for the European Commission.
“We are expecting for these rights to be exercised peacefully and guaranteed in accordance with the rule of law“, she underlined, stressing Brussels’ commitment “to continue to deepen our relations with the aim of creating a common and shared space of stability, democracy and prosperity“.
Several thousands of Algerian students, teachers, lawyers and even journalists continue to demonstrate in the capital and in several cities of Algeria against Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, and calling for regime change.
Police in Algiers used tear gas against the protesters, injuring hundreds and killing one person. Several people, including journalists, were also arrested part of the crackdown on the demonstrators.
Bouteflika, 82, suffered a stroke six years ago and can hardly walk or talk. His last known public address was in 2014 after he won the presidential election for a fourth term.
His opponents say his poor health means that he is unable to perform his duties as president, leaving the reins of the country in the hands of a military and civilian elite.