On April 20, 2022, police arrested dozens of students and citizens at the gate of Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-Ouzou (UMMTO) during a march to commemorate the ”Berber Spring” – a series of protests during which activists seeking recognition of Berber identity and language in Algeria were violently repressed.
Students and citizens gathered at the UMMTO gate to commemorate the Berber Spring (also known as the Kabyle Spring, in reference to one of the Berber ethnic groups involved in the protests) planning to march toward the city center of Tizi Ouzo, when police intervened and arrested dozens of protesters, including at least five students.
Scholars at Risk is concerned by the arbitrary detention of students and citizens in an apparent effort to restrict their peaceful, on campus exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Algeria is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting or retaliating against the nonviolent and responsible exercise of such rights. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, detentions aimed at restricting nonviolent on-campus expressive activities undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.
*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)