Algeria announces December 12 date for presidential vote

Twenty-two protesters jailed by Algerian court after democracy rally

Algerian demonstrators take to the streets in the capital Algiers to protest against the government, in Algeria, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Africa's largest country has had no elected president for five months, and the powerful army chief wants to change that after months of protests he sees as a threat. Placard in Arabic that reads, " the Algerian people take their own decision". (AP Photo/Toufik Doudou)
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Algeria’s interim leader has announced December 12 as the date for the presidential election, in line with the army chief’s demand to fill the vacancy left when Abdelaziz Bouteflika was pushed out more than five months ago.

Abdelkader Bensallah announced plans for elections during an address to the nation Sunday night.

The powerful army chief, Ahmed Gaid Salah, has been pushing for elections as quickly as possible.

A pro-democracy movement holding weekly protests since February wants time to organise elections that ensure all traces of the old system are gone.

Meanwhile, twenty-two citizens were jailed by an Algerian court after a protest march two days ago.

The TSA online media outlet reported the incarcerations on Sunday, quoting the group's lawyers, hours before the interim president was to address the nation.

Police have increasingly cracked down on protesters.

Karim Tabou, 51, a well-known figure in the movement, was jailed on Friday on charges of undermining the military.

Many citizens have been jailed since the February 22 start of the peaceful demonstrations aimed at ridding Algeria of the Bouteflika era, mired in corruption.

Among those jailed are people waving regional flags and, shocking for many, a veteran of Algeria’s independence war with France that ended in 1962.

Protesters now demand that “political prisoners” be set free and many chant for the army chief to leave.