Thousands join pro-democracy protests in Algiers

"Whatever you do, we will not stop," protesters shouted, addressing a massive police presence in the centre of the capital.Some held pictures of prisoners of conscience -- opposition and Hirak activists -- demanding their release.

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Thousands protested in Algiers Friday during a weekly demonstration of the Hirak pro-democracy movement despite a heavy police presence.Protesters changed route for the first time since marches resumed in February in order to avoid police roadblocks.

“Whatever you do, we will not stop,” protesters shouted, addressing a massive police presence in the centre of the capital.Some held pictures of prisoners of conscience — opposition and Hirak activists — demanding their release.

“Repression only strengthens the will to fight and cements the solidarity of those subjected to it,” other signs read.The CNLD prisoners’ rights group says over 70 people are currently imprisoned in connection to the Hirak or cases related to freedom of expression, and that some detainees have begun hunger strikes to protest their conditions.Police used force to break up last Friday’s rally in Algiers and made several arrests. Most of those detained have since been released.Amnesty International on Friday called on Algerian authorities to “allow for peaceful protests without resorting to force and other punitive measures unnecessarily”.

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