The opposition Social Democratic Front (SDF), destabilised by the mass exodus of its militants, most of whom have become the target of separatist militias, is divided over its participation in the local elections of 9 February.
Algeria: French MP Mathilde Panot arrested in Bejaia
The arrest of a French MP visiting Algeria raises questions over the new regime's commitment to change .
French MP Mathilde Panot has been in Algeria since Sunday with her deputy Mourad Tagzout, “meeting the actors of the popular movement”.
MP Mathilde Panot, vice-president of the parliamentary group of La France insoumise – the left-wing party founded by Jean-Luc Mélenchon – was arrested on Tuesday in Béjaïa with her supporters.
She is currently being placed under surveillance in the capital Algiers, “without knowing the intentions of those who forced them to return under escort”, denounces her formation.
- For his part, Communist deputy Pierre Dharréville urges “the (French) government to ask Algeria for explanations on the arrest and house arrest” of his colleague, and “his immediate release”.
The ‘Insoumises’ deplore “the forced interruption of Mathilde Panot’s and her team’s meeting program”, and ask for “the guarantee of their safety and respect for their freedom of movement”.
- According to our information, the elected official was in Bejaia to attend and participate in a march planned for Tuesday, “out of internationalist solidarity”, says an employee.
She was also to attend a conference on citizen revolutions and ecology, but “the authorities informed her that it had been cancelled”. “She didn’t come in an aggressive way,” our source says, adding that “Mathilde thinks she will be expelled.
“Emmanuel Macron can’t be silent”
“Mathilde was accompanied by her deputy, who is very familiar with the Algerian situation,” says a source within La France insoumise. While the circumstances of her arrest remain unclear, it can be seen in the more general context of arbitrary arrests in Algeria, where the government is trying to kill the hirak [popular movement] so that the elections are nothing more than a pantomime”.
Mathilde Panot spoke this Wednesday on Facebook to give more details about her arrest. In her message, she reiterated “her admiration for the action of the Algerian people and all solidarity for the magnificent struggle they are waging for their dignity”.
This article first appeared in Jeune Afrique.