Algerian magistrates protest at Supreme Court amid crisis


Issad Mabrouk, head of the Algerian Magistrates’ Union (SNM), delivers a speech during a protest in Algiers, Monday, Nov.4, 2019. Judges and prosecutors began an open-ended strike last Wednesday to demand the independence of the judiciary after a massive reshuffle that has affected thousands. (AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)

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ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Judges, prosecutors and lawyers have staged an unusual protest at Algeria’s Supreme Court to demand more judicial independence, amid resurgent tensions in the country’s 9-month-old political crisis.

Hundreds of magistrates, many wearing traditional black-and-red robes, joined in Monday’s demonstration in the capital Algiers. It was prompted by anger over a military intervention Sunday to dislodge striking judicial officials in a courthouse in the city of Oran.

Many Algerian magistrates have been on strike for days over what they call increasing pressure from the government. They want the justice minister fired.

The government says strikers are a minority and their protests are preventing others from working.

The government wants the magistrates back at work before Algeria’s Dec. 12 presidential election, because they ensure elections are carried out according to the law.

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