Algerian Authorities Arrest Protesters for Carrying Amazigh Flags

Algerian protesters
Algerian protesters wave the Amazigh flag

Algerian authorities have been detaining a number of people for two days now for carrying the Amazigh flag during protests, said rights activists in Algeria on Saturday.

The flag has been banned by Army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah in demonstrations opposing remnants of the former regime. He has also ordered the arrest of those carrying them.

Lawyer and rights activist Abdel-Ghani Badi said that three supporters of the Amazigh issue were arrested during Friday’s rally and will appear on (Sunday) before the public prosecution in the capital.

He said the police accused them of “unauthorized gathering,” pointing out that the charge is linked to the demonstrations, “but they are not criminals.”

Badi affirmed that the activists were detained in central Algiers during Friday’s protests because they were raising Amazigh flags.

Former prosecutor Abdullah Haboul said that no law bars carrying a flag other than the national one during demonstrations.

Lawyer Mokrane Ait Larbi said: “Serious violations of freedoms have been committed out in the field, especially regarding preventing protesters from carrying Amazigh banners in all the cities.”

“Despite banning these flags, people still insist on raising them along with the national flag,” he added.

“I strongly condemn this act, which cannot be justified at all,” he stressed, noting that all citizens must denounce this ban by continuing to raise this flag.