CW 38/2020: A Matter of Protest?
Press Review 12 September 2020 to 18 September 2020

Libyan Prime Minister plans to resign

The Prime Minister of the internationally recognised Libyan Government, Mr Fayez al-Sarradsch, announced on Wednesday that he was stepping down. By the end of October at the latest, al-Sarraj intends to resign in order to pave the way for a new government, which the parties to the conflict should agree on beforehand. Since the overthrow of long-time ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in 2011, civil war has been raging in the North African state, further dividing the country. The government in Tripoli is facing the rival government around rebel General Chalifa Haftar in the north-east of the country – both are supported by different states and militias. Tripoli receives support from Italy, Qatar and Turkey, while Haftar works with Russia, Jordan, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. People have been protesting against corruption and deteriorating living conditions for a long time. Last week riots broke out in Haftar-controlled areas, with young demonstrators setting fire to the office of the parliamentary administration and the seat of the counter-government in the north-eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. The Haftar-aligned government took action and on Monday offered its resignation, which is seen as weakening Haftar’s international negotiating position. These developments come just after the latest round of peace talks, which took place last week in Rabat, Morocco, and are likely to have produced important agreements on the road to the 2021 elections. To further advance the settlement of the conflict, the United Nations and Germany are planning a virtual peace summit on 5 October. In addition to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, representatives of both parties to the conflict will also take part in this summit.


Algerian court sentences journalists to two years in prison

Although the weekly mass protests in Algeria have been suspended since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic in March, numerous opposition and civil society forces are fighting for democratic change in the North African country despite repression by the authorities. More and more journalists are being targeted by the authorities. Khaled Drareni, an independent Algerian journalist and founder of the news website Casbah Tribune, was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday in an appeal trial in the capital Algiers. Drareni was charged with “inciting an unarmed assembly” and “endangering national unity” in connection with reporting on protest movements in Algeria. He was originally sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 10 August, but the current reduction to two years continues to be strongly criticised by non-governmental organisations such as Amnesty International. The arrest of the 40-year-old man in March had already caused a national and international sensation and unrest. The protests against the regime in Algeria, also known as Hirak, began on 22 February 2019 after the then 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) party announced his candidacy for a fifth term as president. The mass protests, some of which drew more than a million participants, ultimately led to Bouteflika’s resignation. However, the protestscontinued as many people also regard his successor Abdelmadjid Tebboune as part of the “old elite”. A new constitution will be voted on in Algeria in November this year. For the opposition movement Hirak, the referendum on 1 November will show what influence they can still exert after the suppression of the protests. They first demand the resignation of the entire political guard before a new constitution can bring about successful change.


In other news

Baraka Safari Elie has designed the first rechargeable iron made in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After eight months, the 23-year-old Congolese entrepreneur succeeded in producing the first iron of its kind. As electricity supply is a major everyday problem for the population in the country, Elie designed his iron to work for up to three hours without regular power supply. This means that his invention can also be used as a travel iron. At present, the innovation can be purchased for 25 US Dollars.

Press Overview
Press Review Archive