Protest-hit Algeria bans rallies over virus

File: Algeria has been shaken by an unprecedented anti-government protest movement.

File: Algeria has been shaken by an unprecedented anti-government protest movement.

AFP/Ryad Kramdi

ALGIERS - Algeria's president banned rallies and marches in response to fears of the novel coronavirus, in a country that has been shaken by an unprecedented anti-government protest movement.

"The spreading epidemic is a national security and health issue, which temporarily restricts certain freedoms," Abdelmadjid Tebboune said in a televised speech announcing a ban on all rallies "regardless of their form or nature".

READ: Algeria registers first coronavirus death

The North African country has recorded 60 cases of the COVID-19 illness including five dead, according to official figures.

Algeria has been rocked by more than a year of protests since ageing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a bid for a fifth term in February last year. 

He left office under pressure from the street and the army in April but protesters have continued to hold mass rallies demanding sweeping reforms. 

Source
AFP