ALGIERS- The President of the Republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, granted a long interview to the French weekly news magazine Le Point, in which he addressed several issues, including the marches of the popular movement “Hirak” and the second term.
President Tebboune was interviewed by journalists Kamel Daoud and Adlène Meddi, who questioned him about the wave of arrests of demonstrators, to which President Tebboune replied: “Following the presidential election, up to 20,000 to 25,000 demonstrators across the country took to the streets, I was the first to reach out to the people of Hirak and to receive them. In my first government, there were five ministers who came from it. People I had seen insulting me in videos! ”
Recalling that “then, we started to release detainees to reach 120 ones,” before adding: “People continued to criticize me, but I continued to granting them their demands. I feel like this was interpreted as a weakness. People thought we were weak . They were wrong ”.
Explaining that “the protester and the policeman who maintains public order are the sons of the same Republic,” he said: “I have no right to let them clash. However, nowadays, calls for violence are emerging .
Hirak: “I don’t use that word anymore”
“I don’t use that word (Hirak) anymore because things have changed. The only Hirak I believe in is the authentic and blessed Hirak who spontaneously gathered millions of Algerians in the streets. This Hirak chose the path of reason by going to the presidential election. It did not listen to the siren song which urged it to move towards a transitional period, and ten million Algerians went to vote. A minority refused the election. I think that every Algerian has the right to express himself, but I refuse the diktat of a minority “, declared President Tebboune.
According to him, “Today, in what remains of Hirak, we find everything, there are some who shout ‘Islamic State! “And others who chant” no Islam! “. The protesters may be expressing anger, but this is not the original Hirak. It’s very motley. ”
Asked about the case of the journalist and correspondent of the daily Liberté, Rabah Karèche, placed under arrest warrant in Tamanrasset prison, President Tebboune had a very brief response. “He erroneously played arsonist on a very sensitive subject. Very serious, ”he said.