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Algerian government shuts down leading pro-reform group

Human rights groups say the situation in Algeria has been deterioriating, including the recent arrest of three lawyers for representing Hirak protesters.
Algerian anti-government protesters take to the streets of Algiers as the Hirak pro-democracy movement keeps up its weekly demonstrations despite a ban on gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, Algeria, March 26, 2021.

A year ago, Algerian authorities shut down the popular pro-democracy reform movement known as Hirak, whose massive weekly Friday protests called for former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step aside and allow free and fair elections.

Following the 2019 elections, the Hirakists continued to campaign to change the system from the military one-party state installed by Houari Boumediene after the post-independence coup d’etat in1965. However, demonstrations were brought to an end in a crackdown last year resulting in the arrests of thousands of activists and over 300 held in pre-trial detention for up to a year, many under allegations of terrorism.

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