The Algerian revolution: the struggle for decolonization continues


PHOTO/Riad Kaced.

After more than one year of weekly protests, the Algerian uprising continues unabated. It has booked historical victories, but there is a long road ahead still.

Algeria is going through a revolutionary phase. The mass-scale uprising that started in February 2019 has been sustained for more than a year now and is showing an incredible resilience and soumoud (steadfastness in Arabic). Hundreds of thousands are still in the streets, joining huge weekly protests every Tuesday and Friday (and recently some Saturdays and Sundays), demanding radical democratic change and the demilitarization of the republic.

On February 22, 2020, the first anniversary of the popular movement’s emergence onto the political scene, millions of people renewed their belief in the revolution and expressed their determination to continue the struggle by organizing massive marches in various parts of the country. In reaction to the current President Tebboune’s announcement of marking the date as a national day of “cohesion between people and the army,” protesters chanted We didn’t come to celebrate; we’ve come to kick you out!”

The people reasserted their demand for a civilian state in a powerful slogan that has become symbolic of the uprising’s core aim, especially since the electoral masquerade of December 2019: Tebboune is a bogus president. He was imposed by the army and has no legitimacy…The people were liberated and it’s them who decide…A civilian state now!

Achievements and victories

Throughout the year, the popular movement (Al Hirak Ach’abi) accomplished a lot. The Hirak forced the Military High Command (MHC) to distance itself from the presidential clan and effectively deposed Bouteflika, president for the last 20 years. It also aborted two presidential elections: the first one in April, in which Bouteflika was running for a fifth term and the second one on July 4, which was seen as a front to maintain the primacy of the MHC. Whatever we think about the regime’s highly mediatized anti-corruption campaign — which is largely smokes and mirrors and settling of accounts between various factions — the fact that high profile oligarchs and once-powerful individuals, including former prime ministers, chiefs of security services and the deposed president’s brother, are in jail, is a big achievement in itself. This would not have happened without the popular mobilizations and calls for accountability and an end to corruption: “You devoured the country…Oh you thieves!”, “You will be all punished”…

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