Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune pardoned more than 6,000 prisoners on Thursday, extending a process of clemency outdoing similar conciliatory gestures by his predecessors.
Tebboune, elected in December in a vote rejected by a mass protest movement seeking the total replacement of the ruling elite, is trying to quell nearly a year of political unrest.
The mass pardons follow an offer of dialogue with protesters, release of detainees arrested at demonstrations, the formation of a committee to amend the constitution and meetings with opposition figures.
Combined with the 3 471 prisoners released earlier, Tebboune has now pardoned nearly 10 000 prisoners with sentences of 18 months or less.
His predecessor, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who ruled for 20 years until he was ousted, freed about 5 000 people in 2017 to mark the country’s independence day.
OPEC member Algeria faces economic problems and increased financial pressure caused by a fall in energy revenue and foreign exchange reserves.
Protesters are taking to the streets for weekly demonstrations on Fridays, but numbers have fallen since Tebboune’s election.