Sunday, 13 February 2011
EU chief demands 'immediate' release of Algeria protesters
(BRUSSELS) - The head of the European Parliament demanded Sunday that demonstrators arrested during an Algerian attempt to echo Tunisian and Egyptian protests be released "immediately."
Urging Algiers to "refrain from violence and respect their citizens' right to peaceful demonstration," after protests in the capital on Saturday, Jerzy Buzek underlined that "any and all demonstrators arrested should be released immediately."
Algeria's interior ministry said 14 people had been held and then released, but the head of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), Mustapha Bouchachi, said there had been 300 arrests in various Algerian centres.
A former Solidarity activist in Communist Poland, Buzek slammed the country's ongoing state of emergency as "unjustifiable" adding that it "clearly hampers Algeria's prospects for the fair, peaceful and sustainable development of the country."
Veteran strongman Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said earlier this month he would lift the state of emergency, but Buzek said "even this step has yet to materialise" and maintained: "No government can ignore the call of its people."
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