22 Algerians convicted for waving Berber flag at protests

November 12, 2019 GMT

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Algerian court has sentenced 22 young protesters to a year in prison for waving Berber flags at pro-democracy demonstrations that have shaken the country’s political system all year.

The verdict was handed down early Tuesday after a tense, marathon trial marked by demonstrations outside the courtroom. The 22 were also fined 30,000 dinars ($250) each, accused of threatening national unity by waving the Amazigh flag, emblem of the Berber identity.

Defense lawyer Seddik Mouhous announced plans to appeal, claiming the ruling goes against the constitution.

Some 20 other protesters are awaiting a similar trial next week.

Several political figures who have emerged as leaders of Algeria’s protest movement have also been arrested since the weekly demonstrations started in February. They helped push out longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in April.