Announcement of early elections rejected by Algerian students

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Thursday issued a decree setting June 12 for early legislative elections, after dissolving parliament last month.

Thousands demonstrated in Algiers on Friday, rejecting the early legislative elections announced the day before, as weekly rallies by the resurgent Hirak pro-democracy movement gain momentum.

“To safeguard itself, the system says: legislative (elections),” one poster read Friday.

Protesters defied a coronavirus-related ban on gatherings to rally from different parts of the capital, converging on the central post office, the Hirak movement’s emblematic rallying point, AFP correspondents said.

Demonstrators shouted slogans including “No elections with mafia gangs” and “a civil not a military state”, a key Hirak slogan.

Maassoum, a 22-year-old male student, expressed his position.

“Our fight is clear, it is against the current power. They have dismissed the people, so we are dismissing them in our turn. These elections do not concern me, I will not vote under these conditions, I will not vote as long as this power is in place. I will vote when we have the rule of law, I will vote when my voice really counts because for the moment it is not the case.”

Another student, Chawki, student, echoed a similar sentiment.

“We have been demonstrating for two years and we will continue to do so to show that we are committed to our demands which are: a free press, independent justice and obtaining the independence that our martyrs dreamt of. The most important thing is to have civil and non-military power as well as the application of articles 7 and 8 (of the Algerian Constitution).”

The 25-year-old man continued firmly leaving no doubt about his resolution.

“Their election is not legitimate. They want a new parliament to calm the anger in the streets. We are against the legislative elections organised by Goudjil (Salah Goudjil, Leader of the Senate). We ask for all the symbols of the system to leave, without any exception. We hold on to this demand, we will not stop until it is met.”

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