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Algerian regime steps up repression against protests

Algeria's interim government appears to be ramping up its response to Hirak activists taking part in popular protests, including resorting to extended pre-hearing detentions and holding protesters in inhumane conditions.

On Oct. 10, Abdelwahab Fersaoui, president of the Youth Action Rally (RAJ), a civil society organization heavily involved in Algeria's Hirak protest movement, attended a weekly sit-in as usual, in front of the Sidi Mhamed courthouse, in solidarity with Algerian prisoners of conscience. Shortly before the end of the gathering, a group of plainclothes policemen arrested Fersaoui, who after a two-day disappearance resurfaced in El Harrach prison on Oct. 12.

“We are victims of a campaign of arrests because we are an organization that has invested and contributed a lot to Hirak,” a member of RAJ’s executive board told Al-Monitor, speaking on the condition of anonymity following Fersaoui’s arrest. “Yet, RAJ is not the only target of these arbitrary arrests, but rather the civil society as a whole.”

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