KHERRATA, 20 February 2021 – The massive street protests that rocked Algeria, leading to the ousting of the former government in 2019, are back.
Hundreds of thousands of people joined the protests Saturday, chanting in support of a “free” and “democratic” Algeria, and celebrating the people of Algeria as heroes of the “Hirak” – Arabic word for “movement”.
The protests were staged weekly, calling for profound reforms and for an end to corruption, police violence and other forms of social and economic injustice.
The kick-off of the 2021 “Hirak” was given in the northern city of Kherrata ahead of the second anniversary next Monday of the state of the nationwide protests.
The movement stopped mobilizing for street protests with the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic last March.
Clearly concerned by the revival of the protests, the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune this week pardoned and ordered the release of dozens of activists still detained or imprisoned for their role in the 2019 “Hirak”.
President Tebboune also dissolved parliament on Thursday, called for early legislative elections and announced an upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
“Hirak” supporters have voiced dissatisfaction with what they call “timid reforms” by Tebboune, a former prime minister under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was ousted in 2019 by the movement.