A demonstration calling for the release of blogger Merzoug Touati is planned in Béjaïa (Béjaïa province) on Monday, December 10. Participants will reportedly gather at the Taous Amrouche cultural center at 11:00 (local time) and march 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 sentenced to ten years in jail in January 2017 on espionage charges following an interview with a former Israeli official. Although Touati's sentence 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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