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A heavy Unrest has ensued in a southern Algerian town after a blogger and activist was handed a seven-year jail sentence for condoning acts of terrorism.
According to an online news website – El Watan, protesters burnt tyres and blocked several roads in Ouargla, after a court in the town convicted Ameur Guerrache over the weekend.
In a video posted on social media, protesters were seen hurling stones at police as tear gas filled the air.
In n another video that reports suggest sparked the riots, Guerrache’s mother was seen appealing to President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to release her 31-year-old son.
According to Algeria’s prisoners’ support group CLND, the activist was found guilty of condoning terrorism, incitement to acts of terrorism and illegal gatherings, and offending the president.
Guerrache, arrested last July, had for years been a key activist behind the “Mekhadma” protest movement, named after a neglected district of the town, according to CLND.
Ouargla, some 570 kilometers (355 miles) south of Algiers, is the capital of an oil-rich region where youth unemployment runs high.
The official APS news agency said judicial police had found a more than hour-long video message of “hateful sermons” and protest calls on Guerrache’s Facebook account, as well as a photograph of an unnamed “terrorist” on his mobile.
The justice ministry said Saturday that 59 pro-democracy activists have been released from jail under presidential pardons announced on February 18.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK