Algeria celebrates 60 years of independence with a military parade

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Algiers Algeria — Algeria celebrates 60 years of independence from France on Tuesday with national ceremonies, the pardon of 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 relations between Algeria and France.

“A day of glory for a new era” is the official slogan of the celebration, which includes concerts, sporting events, lectures and photo exhibitions depicting the horrors of war.

City workers have hung Algerian flags and portraits of war heroes, and loudspeakers in public squares are playing patriotic songs.

Former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has given up on organizing military parades, but his successor, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has revived the tradition for this year’s anniversary.

The show of military force comes amid growing tensions between Algeria and Morocco over the disputed region of Western Sahara.

Tebboune is expected to address the consultations with political leaders he has held in recent months. Opposition figures and those involved in the 2019 pro-democracy protests who helped overthrow Bouteflika were not invited to the consultations.

The president on Monday signed executive orders announcing the pardon of thousands of prisoners. He orders detainees with medical problems to be released or have their sentences commuted.

It was not immediately clear whether political prisoners, including those involved in the Hirak protest movement, would be among those released.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of Hamas and the presidents of Tunisia, Niger, Congo and Ethiopia were scheduled to take part in Tuesday’s anniversary events.

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