Demonstrations calling for the release of blogger Merzoug Touati are planned in Béjaïa city (Béjaïa province) on Tuesday, November 20. According to organizers, demonstrators will gather at the University of Béjaïa, Targa Ouzemmour campus at 11:00 (local time) before marching to Saïd Mekbel square. A heightened security presence is to be anticipated near the demonstration. Associated transportation disruptions, along with potential clashes between protesters and police, are possible.
Merzoug Touati was jailed for ten years in January 2017 on espionage charges following an interview with a former Israeli official. Although Touait's sentenced was reduced to seven years on appeal to the high court, demonstrations have taken place in Béjaïa in recent months calling for his release and to denounce the government's perceived crackdown on civil liberties.
Individuals in Béjaïa are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all related demonstrations and gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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