The Algerian people have come out on social media and publicly to show their support for EU Human Rights sub-commissioner Marie Arena, after she publicly expressed her solidarity with the pro-democracy demonstrators severely repressed by the military junta in power in the country.
The Algerian authorities, which aren’t considered legitimate by the majority of Algerians, were quick to condemn her support despite the fact that she had only demanded that authorities stop repressing its people and release the hundreds of political opponents unlawfully held in the country, a demand aligned with Algeria’s obligations under international law. She had denounced the authoritarian drift the regime has been increasingly engaging in.
Marie Arena had stated in a video message: “This is the thirty-second week of demonstrations organized in Algeria against the current Algerian regime. So today the protesters are men, women, young people, not so young people, who are demanding democracy in Algeria. We support them here in the European Parliament by organizing a hearing with a number of actors of the current revolution in Algeria“.
While Ahmed Gaid Salah and his entourage have been the subject of humiliation and mockery by the majority of Algerians, Marie Arena was hailed as a national hero on social media and across the whole country, as the Algiers Herald was able to confirm on the ground.
In the streets of Algiers, the people were unanimous in showing their support for the EU parliamentarian.
Asked about what he thought of the parliamentarian’s support, Youssef S., told the Algiers Herald “she has more dignity than all of our corrupt politicians combined“, Youssef further added “Ahmed Gaid Salah is an agent of the United Arab Emirates, he would be tried for high treason if there was really an independent judiciary“.
Meriem T., a shop owner told our correspondent that “Marie Arena should be naturalised and made the president of Algeria, she would do a better job than the incompetents currently in power“.
The usual politicians, including opposition figures Abderrazak Makri and Ali Benflis, known in the country as “lièvres” (hares), a reference to their role in the country’s politics as false opposition figures, were quickly tasked by Ahmed Gaid Salah to condemn the parliamentarian’s support as “interference in the country’s affairs“, despite the parliamentarian’s comments being nothing of the sort.
Nabila B., a student and pro-democracy activist told our correspondent “the only foreign interference here is the one the illegitimate regime ruling the country has been accommodating: the interference by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE in particular“.
Samir O., in contrast told us that “Algerians welcome foreign support, but not interference, we want the international community to hold this regime accountable for its crimes and we thank Marie Arena for her public support, in particular at a time when the international media and Western governments have been covering up this regime’s crimes“.