ALGIERS – Algeria on Tuesday marked 60 years of independence from France with nationwide ceremonies, a pardon for 14,000 prisoners and its first military parade in years.
The events mark the country’s official declaration of independence on July 5, 1962, after a brutal seven-year war that ended 132 years of colonial rule. The war, which claimed at least 1.5 million lives, remains a point of tension in Algeria-France relations.
“A glorious day for a new era” is the official motto of the celebration, which includes concerts, sporting events, lectures and photo exhibitions chronicling the horrors of war.
City workers have hung Algerian flags and portraits of war heroes, and patriotic songs are blaring from loudspeakers in public squares.
Former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika gave up holding military parades, but his successor, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, revived the tradition for this year’s anniversary.
The military show of force comes amid rising tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the disputed region of Western Sahara.
Tebboune is expected to address consultations with political leaders he has held over the past few months. Opposition figures and people involved in the 2019 pro-democracy protests that helped bring down Bouteflika were not invited to the consultations.
The President signed decrees on Monday pardoning thousands of prisoners. It orders the release or commutation of sentences of prisoners with medical problems.
It was not initially clear whether those released would include political prisoners, including those involved in the Hirak protest movement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Hamas and the presidents of Tunisia, Niger, Congo and Ethiopia were scheduled to attend the anniversary events on Tuesday.
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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/07/05/algeria-marks-60-years-of-independence-with-military-parade/ Algeria celebrates 60 years of independence with a military parade