Algerian Students Protest Again, Crying ‘No Dialogue with the Gang’

Wednesday, 31 July, 2019 - 12:00
Algiers- Asharq Al-Awsat

Dozens of students in Algeria organized Tuesday a new march to express their rejection of the proposal to hold a national dialogue before the departure of all the former regime’s figures, headed by interim President Abdelkader Bensalah.

Four months after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down under pressure from mass protests, the transitional government still hasn’t been able to hold presidential elections after the cancellation of the previously planned for July 4 due to lack of candidates.

The Algerian presidency announced last Thursday setting up a six-member panel to oversee a national dialogue among civil society actors, political parties, national figures, youth and activists to organize elections.

According to AFP, the students chanted slogans "No dialogue with the gang" while passing by police forces, who were heavily deployed in the area.

Meanwhile, Algeria's Army Chief Gaid Salah ruled out accepting any pre-conditions to launching talks to end the country’s political crisis.

“There is no more time to lose,” said Salah during a speech to a ceremony honoring students graduating from military schools.

“Holding elections is the main point the dialogue should focus on,” Saleh stressed, slamming what he called “preconditions which amount to diktats.”

In this context, he reaffirmed his unwillingness to remain in power, supporting the initiative launched by Bensalah.

“Since the beginning of the crisis, the army’s supreme leadership has adopted an approach characterized by rationality in the proposition, logic in handling the crisis, and realism in accompanying Algerians and state institutions,” Salah explained.

He stressed that this leadership has proven on many occasions it has no political ambitions except serving the nation and its supreme interests.

He also slammed “poisonous ideas... notably, the call to increase the number of detainees wrongly said to be held for their opinions” and stressed the independence of the judiciary.

The police deployment put in place “for the security of the marches was a measure taken in people’s interest,” Salah added, insisting the rallies must be properly organized “to avoid them being infiltrated”.

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