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Prominent Algeria opposition leader arrested as government clamps down on protesters

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One of Algeria’s leading opposition figures, Karim Tabbou, has been arrested and detained by the government in what human rights group say is a new wave of clamp on opposition figures.

Tabbou who was arrested on Friday, according to Algeria’s Human Rights League (LADDH) in a post on its Facebook page,
is one of the “country’s most-recognizable faces during unprecedented mass rallies, led by the Hirak pro-democracy movement, that began in February 2019.”

“The movement has consistently demanded a sweeping overhaul of the ruling system in place since the country’s independence from France in 1962,” it added.

“Mr. Tabbou has been detained since Friday evening. We still don’t know the reasons for this new arrest,” the rights group said.

On Tuesday, Tabbou had published on his Facebook page an “homage” to another activist, Hakim Debbazi, who reportedly died in detention after his arrest in February.

“Physically dead, the martyrs of the just causes are more than alive,” Tabbou had posted.

He went on to blame the Algerian authorities for the death of Debbazi whom he described as a “modest and humble” activist who “committed body and soul to the Hirak.”

Tabbou who leads a small, unregistered opposition party, the Democratic Social Union (UDS), has had several brushes with the authorities in the past.

In March 2020, he was sentenced to one year in jail for “undermining national security,” but the conviction was seen as a backlash from his constant criticism of the army’s involvement in politics.

He was also detained and released on other occasions, including just before last June’s parliamentary election which the Hirak boycotted.

The Hirak protests had forced longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down while demonstrations have continued in a push for deep reforms.

More than 300 people are currently detained in Algeria over links to the Hirak or rights activism, another rights group, the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) said in a statement.

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Like Mali, Burkina Faso junta suspends France’s RFI radio over broadcast of militant speech

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West African country, Burkina Faso, has gone the way of its neighbour, Mali, as its ruling junta has suspended the broadcast of France’s RFI radio.

The suspension comes after what the junta said were false reports and giving voice to Islamist militants, a statement from the government said on Saturday.

According to a statement by the radio station, “RFI strongly deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question its professionalism,” State-owned Radio France Internationale, usually referred to as RFI.

The statement added that the decision to suspend its broadcasting was made without prior notice and without the implementation of the procedures put in place by Burkina Faso’s communications regulator.

The ruling junta which came into power in a recent coup in September accused the RFI also repeated a press report – which it denied – that Burkina Faso’s President Captain Ibrahim Traore, who seized power in a coup in September, had said there had been an attempted coup trying to unseat him.

Burkina Faso’s neighbour, Mali, under military reign, suspended broadcasts by French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France 24 amid accusations of reporting “false allegations”.

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Tunisian labour union, UGTT threatens political disruption as elections draws near

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As the North African country, Tunisia braces up for elections, labour union, UGTT has threatened not to disrupt proceedings under the current political arrangement.

UGTT attacked president Saied political and economic agenda on Saturday, including the elections scheduled for this month. The union said that it will no longer accept what it called a threat to democracy in its clearest challenge to him yet.

UGTT’s leader Noureddine Taboubi said in a speech to thousands of supporters, the union will ” no longer accept the current path because of its ambiguity and individual rule, and the unpleasant surprises it hides for the fate of the country and democracy.”

“We will not hesitate to defend rights and freedoms whatever the cost,” he added, in his strongest criticism yet of the president.

“We will not abide by secret agreements the government has with the International Monetary Fund and the workers will stand up to it,” Taboubi said.

Taboubi said the December election would “have no colour and taste” as a result of Saied’s constitution and that the vote lacked national unanimity.

President Kais Saied hinted that the country will not accept foreign observers for the planned elections for later this year.

There have been protests for and against president Saied’s approach to governance of the Tunisian public.

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