1. Algerians converge for huge anti-government protest

    Alan Johnston

    BBC World Service

    Thousands of anti-government protesters have taken to the streets of the Algerian capital, Algiers, with columns of marchers converging on the city centre.

    Algerians shout slogans during anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria - 26 February 2021

    The gathering appeared to be a resumption of the weekly demonstrations on Fridays that were halted a year ago by the coronavirus pandemic.

    The street protests brought down President Abdulaziz Bouteflika in 2019, and then continued as the demonstrators pressed in vain for a sweeping away of the rest of the political establishment.

  2. Algeria receives Chinese vaccine

    Photo taken on Feb. 24, 2021 shows staff members unloading COVID-19 vaccines at the Boufarik military airport, 40 km southeast of the capital Algiers, Algeria.
    Image caption: China has been quicker than Western countries in donating vaccines to African states

    Algeria has received 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine donated by China, the state news agency has reported.

    The North African state launched its vaccination campaign in January, with 50,000 doses of Russia's Sputnik V, and has since received 50,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Reuters news agency reported.

  3. Thousands of Algerians march on anniversary of protests

    BBC World Service

    Protesters and police
    Image caption: Many police were seen at the protest

    Thousands of Algerians have marched in the capital Algiers and other cities to mark the second anniversary of the anti-government protest movement, known as Hirak.

    Protesters chanted: "Peace, freedom and democracy," and held up signs saying: "A civilian-led country, not a military one."

    Protesters in Algiers
    Protesters in Algiers
    Protesters and police in Algiers

    It is said to be the largest gathering in Algiers since the suspension of the Hirak protests in March last year because of coronavirus.

    The movement forced Algeria's long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to resign, but has continued to call for the removal of the political elite.

    Read more: Algeria's protests are back and the president is worried

  4. Pro-democracy activists freed from jail in Algeria

    BBC World Service

    Algerians carrying a national flag gather outside the Kolea prison near the city of Tipasa, some 70km west of the capital Algiers on February 19, 2021.
    Image caption: People gathered outside Kolea prison near the city of Tipasa on Friday

    A dozen pro-democracy activists have been released from prison in Algeria, and more are expected to be freed under pardons issued by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

    He announced them on Thursday, just days ahead of the second anniversary of the start of demonstrations that forced the resignation of his predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

    Many of the activists were imprisoned for posting anti-government comments on social media.

    Analysts have described the presidential pardons as a gesture of appeasement following signs that the protest movement is gathering momentum again.

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  5. Algerian president calls for early elections

    BBC World Service

    Algerians mark the second anniversary of mass protests in the town of Kherrata, east of Algiers, Algeria,
    Image caption: President Tebboune also pardoned dozens of jailed activists

    Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has called early elections.

    In a live television address on Thursday night, he announced the dissolution of the lower house of parliament - a year ahead of schedule - and said there would be a government reshuffle within the next 48 hours.

    He also ordered the release of about 60 people who formed part of the Hirak protest movement that forced his predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, from power in 2019.

    President Tebboune said the dissolution of parliament was linked to constitutional reforms introduced in November last year, aimed at giving MPs more powers.

  6. Algeria wants France to decontaminate nuclear sites

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Tamanrasset in Algeria
    Image caption: Campaigners say children are still born with deformities in these areas

    Algeria is demanding that former colonial power France clean up radioactive contamination caused by nuclear tests it conducted decades ago in the south of the country, and pay compensation to victims.

    "France has to assume its historical responsibilities and decontaminates the sites where conducted nuclear tests in the 1960s," a high-ranking Algerian army official said.

    Gen Bouzid Boufrioua told the Algerian army’s magazine, El Djeich, that: "The 'polluter pays' principle recognised by the international community requires the nuclear powers to right their historical wrongs."

    The magazine reports that the French army has conducted a total of 17 nuclear tests in Algeria, including four explosions above ground in the locality of Reggane and 13 underground explosions in the region of Ekker.

    More than 60 years after the first nuclear test "France is still refusing to provide the maps for the nuclear waste buried in the Algerian desert," the general added.

    There has been no comment from France as yet on the Algerian army’s demands.

  7. Trial for murder of French tourist in Algeria postponed

    The trial in Algeria of a group accused of decapitating a French mountain guide, which was due to start on Thursday in Algiers, has been put back to 18 February.

    Herve Gourdel was kidnapped and killed by local jihadists linked to the Islamic State group in 2014 while exploring a new climbing site in the Djurdjura Mountains.

    Fourteen people are facing trial.

    One suspect, Abdelmalek Hamzaoui, faces a possible death penalty if found guilty of the murder.

    Thirteen others are also accused of involvement or failing to alert the authorities in time.

  8. Trial for the murder of French tourist to begin in Algeria

    Herve Gourdel
    Image caption: Herve Gourdel was beheaded in 2014

    The trial of a group accused of decapitating a French mountain guide in Algeria begins on Thursday in Algiers.

    Herve Gourdel was kidnapped and killed in 2014 while exploring a new climbing site in the Djurdjura Mountains.

    A video of the murder published by Algerian jihadists linked to the Islamic State group caused shock in France.

    One suspect, Abdelmalek Hamzaoui, faces a possible death penalty if found guilty of the murder.

    Thirteen others are also accused of involvement or failing to alert the authorities in time.

  9. Landmine kills Tunisian soldiers near Algeria border

    An explosion has killed four Tunisian soldiers near the country's border with Algeria.

    A spokesman for the defence ministry in Tunis said the blast was caused by a landmine.

    He said the troops were part of a unit that had been searching for what he described as "terrorists" in a mountainous area.

    The mountains near the border with Algeria have become the front line against the war with the radical elements of Islamic militants in Tunisia.
    Image caption: The mountains near Tunisia's border with Algeria have become the front line in the conflict between militant Islamists and government forces
  10. Algeria seeks to make Russia's Covid vaccine

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    A woman receives an injection with Sputnik V vaccine in Algiers, Algeria
    Image caption: Algeria started a vaccination campaign on Saturday

    Algeria has begun discussions to have Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine made in the country, the prime minister's office has said.

    "The two parties agreed to start contacts between the relevant bodies with a view to build cooperation in the field of making the Spoutnik V vaccine in Algeria," said a statement from Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad after he met Russian ambassador to Algiers Igor Baliaev.

    The government did not give a manufacturing timeline, nor did it specify the quantities of doses to be produced.

    Algeria received its first 500,000 doses of Sputnik V on Friday last week and started a vaccination campaign on Saturday in the province of Blida.

    The authorities are expecting a second shipment of China’s Sinopharm vaccine "in the coming days", according to the Communication Minister Ammar Belhimer.

    An AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine shipment that was ordered by the government would be delivered next month, according to the minister.

    The Algerian government had announced a budget of €122m ($147m;£107m) to secure vaccines and to immunise the population of 40 million.

    Meanwhile, President Abdelamdjid Tebboune is being treated in Germany for a Covid-19 complication.

  11. Algeria set to get batch of Russian Covid vaccines

    A nurse examines a doctor in Algeria
    Image caption: Algeria has so far confirmed more than 100,000 coronavirus cases

    Algeria is set to receive its first doses of Covid-19 vaccine on Friday and begin immunisation on Saturday, the communication minister has said.

    The country will receive the Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and says other doses from China and India are expected later.

    The elderly and health care workers are among first recipients of the vaccines.

    The immunisation is set to begin in the province of Blida.

    The country's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is still in Germany where he is being treated for complications arising from his coronavirus treatment last year.

    The country has recorded 106,359 cases of coronavirus including 2,877 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

    Algeria had said it would share Covid-19 vaccines with its neighbouring nation Tunisia that has been affected severely as well, news agencies reported.

  12. Court upholds prison sentences for Algeria's ex-PMs

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    An Algerian court of appeal has upheld the convictions and prison sentences for two former prime ministers in corruption cases.

    Ahmed Ouyahia and Adbelmalek Sellal will serve 15 and 12 years in prison respectively, after they were convicted in a car-assembling company scandal and for the illegal funding of the electoral campaign of ousted President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in his bid for a fifth mandate.

    Former cabinet ministers Yousef Yousfi and Mahdjoub Bedda were also sentenced to three and two years in prison respectively, in the same case.

    Ouyahia served four terms as prime minister from 1995 to 2019, and Sellal served from 2012 to 2017 and had managed President Bouteflika’s electoral campaign.

  13. France rules out apology for Algeria colonial abuses

    BBC World Service

    The office of the French President Emmanuel Macron has said he will not repent or apologise for France's colonial past in Algeria.

    The comments come before the publication later today of a report he commissioned into how France is facing up to the legacy of that period.

    Mr Macron's office says he will seek to promote reconciliation through a number of symbolic acts.

    He's said in the past that France had committed crimes against humanity in Algeria, and spoken of the need for truth and reconciliation.

    France's colonial rule of Algeria began in 1830 and lasted to 1962, when it gained independence after an eight- year armed struggle.

    Thousands of French and hundreds of thousands of Algerians died.

  14. Algeria to share vaccine with 'sister' nation Tunisia

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Algeria says it will share some of the doses of coronavirus vaccine it has ordered with neighbouring Tunisia by the end of the month.

    It is not clear how many doses Algeria has ordered, nor how many each country needs to battle the virus effectively.

    But we do know where they will be coming from: Algeria has ordered Russia's Sputnik V vaccine - with 500,000 doses due in the first delivery - as well as another vaccine from China.

    It's not known which of the Chinese-developed coronavirus vaccines they are to use. In recent days there has been concern from experts that one of them - CoronaVac - is only 50.4% effective.

    Tunisia's Foreign Minister Othmane Jerandi said his nation and Algeria were "sister" countries and that Algeria's gesture to share the doses was a "sign of brotherhood" between them.

    Algeria's President Abdelmadjid Tebboune recently returned to Germany for a final phase of treatment after he caught coronavirus three months ago.

    Tunisia, with a population of 12 million, has registered more than 5,000 deaths from coronavirus.

    Its government imposed a four-day lockdown on 14 January to control the spread of the virus.

    Algeria meanwhile has had 2,822 deaths and around 30,000 active cases, according to data published by Johns Hopkins university.

  15. Algerian leader returns to Germany for treatment

    Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune

    Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has left the country for treatment in Germany, less than a month after his return.

    He was being treated for Covid-19 for two months until 29 December when he returned home.

    The 75-year-old president will be treated for a foot problem related to the coronavirus infection, the Reuters news agency reports.

    The president's two-month absence had fuelled speculation over his ability to finish his first term.

    "It is hard to be far from one's country," Mr Tebboune was quoted as saying upon his return.

    He had contracted the coronavirus in October when some of his close staff tested positive.


    Algerian leader returns home after Covid scare

  16. Ex-Algeria PM admits to gold scandal

    Ahmed Rouaba

    BBC News

    Former Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia

    The convicted former Algerian prime minister Ahmed Ouyahia told an Appeals Court on Saturday that 700 million dinars ($ 5m; £3m) deposited in his account when he was in office were proceeds from a sale of gold bars.

    He said the "emirs of the gulf countries" gave him 60 gold bars which he sold in an underground market.

    The former prime minister also admitted not declaring the proceeds to tax authorities.

    Mr Ouyahia was last in government as prime minister between 2017- 2019 but his lingering reputation is from the 90s when he implemented austerity measures.

    He famously told Algerians that "people do not need to eat yogurt" in response to opponents contesting his tough economic measures.

    Mr Ouyahia along with other senior officials who served under ousted president Abdelaiz Bouteflika have been prosecuted and jailed for corruption, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds.

    But he's currently appealing a charge of corruption and misappropriation of public fund in relation to a scandal involving a car assembling group.