Algeria rejects Kabylia independence movement and Rachad Islamists as terrorists

After accusing them of colluding with foreign powers and of plotting attacks, the Algerian regime decided to include the Kabyle independence group MAK and the movement for political Islam Rachad on the list of terrorist groups.

The decision was taken by President Abdelmejid Tebboune, reflecting a harsher stance within the regime for all kinds of dissent.

The MAK and Rachad have both gained ground recently as the Algerian street regains momentum in pro-democracy protests demanding a clean break with a ruling military regime behind a civilian curtain in an inefficient and corrupt system.

Elderly military commanders issued a statement last month accusing the secular independence movement of planning attacks in order to unleash a crackdown on the part of the authorities and use it to gain international support.

In a video, exiled MAK leader Ferhat Mhenni then denied the accusation and said the military regime was trying to intimidate MAK activists.

He underlined the peaceful nature of the movement and its rejection of all kinds of violence as well as its attachment to an independent Kabyle state.

In their attempt to suppress Hirak activists, human rights defenders and journalists, the Algerian authorities have recently started to use terrorism-related legislation to silence their voices and suppress their activism.

About fifteen Hirak militants have already been charged with recruiting mercenaries on behalf of a foreign power, inciting citizens against the authority of the State, punishable by the death penalty, conspiring against the state security and enlistment in a terrorist or subversive organization active abroad or in Algeria.

This new desperate attempt to sow fear among Algerians by waving the terrorism map and dismissing the Hirak as a movement instigated by the enemies of Algeria has once again failed to convince.

The Algerian regime has previously attempted to use its statements and media propaganda to discredit the Hirak as a Moroccan plot.

The aging and sick regime has also unsuccessfully attempted to smear the Hirak as a protest movement in the service of extremists and Islamic terrorists.

The dirty game of the army is not fooling anyone. Triggering painful memories of the black decade did not stop the Hirak movement from gaining traction after a halt imposed by the pandemic.

The movement for the self-determination of Kabylia has organized in recent years massive marches in the towns and villages of Kabylia to demand the independence of Algeria.

The bloody events of 2001 in which 125 young people were killed sparked the birth of the movement for the self-determination of the Kabylie region (known by its French acronym MAK) which continues to gain ground among the Kabyles in Algeria and France. where a large diaspora lives.

Supporters of the independence of Kabylia cite a series of grievances their region witnessed after the independence of Algeria. They accuse the Algerian regime of seeking to eradicate their linguistic and cultural particularities by imposing a policy of Arabization coupled with economic marginalization.

Mhenni helped create a Kabyle Provisional Government in Exile. The movement identifies itself as a pacifist movement seeking autonomy in Algiers as a prelude to the founding of an independent state of Kabylia.

Kabyle independence activists argue that their region was attached by colonial France to an artificial Algerian state and that their historic leaders who fought for independence from France were marginalized along with their region in post-independent Algeria.

Human Rights Watch, EuroMed Rights, Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders condemned in the strongest terms Algeria’s discrimination against the Amazigh (Berber) minority and called for all charges against the detained activists to be dropped. .

About Wesley V. Finley

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