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Algerians Demonstrate Against Empty Promises

Thousands of demonstrators defied a heavy police presence in Algiers on Monday for a march to mark the second anniversary of a mass protest movement that convulsed Algeria before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it off the streets. Chanting “A civilian state not a military state!”, “Enough is enough!” and “The people want independence!” protesters walked through the centre of the capital, waving national flags, watched by large numbers of police. Some of the protesters hope to revive the twice-weekly protests that surged through Algerian cities from February 2019 for more than a year, regularly bringing tens of thousands of people to the streets until the global pandemic began. However, some other protesters said the march was symbolic rather than a return to regular demonstrations, or that without a clear opposition leadership they were not yet sure whether to continue with protests. The main demands of the leaderless, unorganised protest campaign, known as Hirak (Movement), were the ousting of Algeria’s old ruling elite, an end to corruption and the army’s withdrawal from politics.