Le Monde: The Algerian regime continues its "repressive headlong rush"

The French daily Le Monde returned this week to the slippage of the Algerian authorities in terms of freedoms. He underlines in this sense that the Algerian regime continues its “repressive headlong rush” and its “calamitous authoritarian escalation”.

Recalling the recent arrest of journalist Ihsane El Kadi, the publication argues that it illustrates “a repressive flight from power” in Algeria.

Under the title “In Algeria, the calamitous authoritarian escalation of the regime”Le Monde notes that the image of a handcuffed journalist is “terrible” and that of a sealed media, “desperate”.

For the publication with a very large circulation, by arresting, on December 24, 2022, Ihsane El Kadi, director and founder of Radio M and the magazine Maghreb Emergent, whose offices were searched and closed, “the authorities of Algiers could not ignore the shock that such a police raid would cause both in Algeria and abroad”.

Ihsane El Kadi, placed on December 29 under arrest warrant, is an “emblematic figure of independent Algerian journalism. With his team, he had shown himself at the forefront of Hirak, the popular protest movement that arose in 2019 around democratic demands, ”recalls Le Monde.

And to emphasize that “the tightening of the repressive vice thanks to the anti-Covid health restriction measures in 2020 had not intimidated him. It is a symbol that has just been minted”.

According to the editorialist, the “regime in Algiers does not seem to worry too much about the calamitous effect that results from this on its image”.

“The admiration inspired by the spectacle of peaceful and joyful crowds at the Hirak, which had radically renewed the way we look at Algeria, is no more than a shattered memory. It’s time to be amazed by the repressive headlong rush of a regime in full revenge after fearing for its survival,” he points out.

The daily notes in this regard that “the full-scale attack on the media center of El Kadi is only the latest episode in a methodical dismantling campaign targeting the residual centers of Hirak for two years”, while ” many of their figures are forced into exile to escape prison, any criticism of the ruling system henceforth being subject to charges of terrorism and sabotage”.

The atmosphere has become so “suffocating that Algerians are coming to believe that pluralism of opinion was better off under the era of former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was reviled for his drift into corruption and nepotism. “, continues the commentator, adding that the regime of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune “yet feels confident enough to ignore the collateral damage of its authoritarian escalation”.

“Inside, he thinks he can buy social peace with the rebound in oil prices, according to a proven but artificial and short-termist scenario. And, abroad, he is counting on the restoration of the strategic credit of Algeria, a hydrocarbon giant courted by Europeans in search of alternatives to Russian gas, ”adds the editorialist.

To conclude: “Everyone must be well aware of the impasse to which security stubbornness in Algiers is condemned: it is illusory to want to + consolidate the internal front +, to use the official watchword, by asphyxiating citizenship, the ‘indispensable leaven of any nation’.

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