Eighteen people who went to a banned anti-government protest on Monday will be tried in Algiers next Wednesday, according to a lawyer familiar with the case.
Half of the defendants have already been taken to prison after appearing before the magistrate, according to lawyer Mustapha Bouchachi.
Around 400 to 500 people took to the streets of the capital to call for democratic change on Monday, but were broken up by police, who made a number of arrests.
Demonstrations also took place in other parts of the country, and in Paris, France.
Hundreds of #Algerians defied a nationwide ban on protests and took to the streets Monday to demand democratic change and mark the anniversary of 1988 demonstrations that ushered in reforms#Algerie #Algeria pic.twitter.com/hAt5kPAAFK – Alghadeer English (@alghadeertv_eng) October 5, 2020
Participants chanted “The people want the fall of the regime” and “Yes to a civil state, no to a military state”, according to CNLD, a prisoners support committee.
The protest took place to mark the anniversary of the 1988 Black October riots, when 500 people were killed and 1,000 injured during a week-long anti-government protest.
Eight of the accused in jail are charged with planning the protest as well as incitement to disturbing the peace, while the ninth allegedly attacked the country’s president.
CNLD said that more than 20 people were arrested on Monday, including students.
The group also called for the more than 60 members of Hirak, anti-government movement, to be released. Hirak was instrumental in pushing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power after 20 years.
Even after Bouteflika’s ouster, Hirak members took to the street to demand an entirely new government, calling the whole system corrupt.
Although protests stopped due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, many believe demonstrations will resume, as a referendum on constitutional reform is set to be voted on 1 November.