On Tuesday, residents from Kherrata, a town 200 kilometers from Algiers, took to the streets demanding democracy. The anti-government movement known as Hirak has been responsible for igniting such strikes. It led to the ousting of a former President. Such strikes have been constant in the country since two years ago when they started.
The Hirak movement had halted its strikes initially because of covid-19. The recent protests marked its first big protests since last March. Thousands of people staged demonstrations in the country’s capital despite the government prohibiting them in the city in 2001. The recent strikes have prompted the government to deploy police officers following worry that the strikes might degenerate into violence.
Transport vans, water cannons, armored trucks have all been deployed in case of violence. The peaceful protests kicked off when former President Abdelaziz decided to compete for a fifth consecutive time in office. Mr. Abdelaziz suffered a stroke in 2013, and it was after four years, he got to interact with the public. His critics regarded his decision to initiate another term as a humiliation. And for that, they started the protests targeting him and his inner circle.
Reactions to the Protests
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was concerned at the onset of the protests, began implementing appeasement measures to restore peace. He eased down covid safety regulations like a curfew. He also invited six political parties to his Presidential residence to discuss the recent political issues.
Meanwhile, amid his plans to restore peace, this is what an opposition party said:
“We called on the President to take strong political measures that would restore the confidence of Algerians and establish a real political will to bring about the desired change,” the Socialist Forces Front, traditionally an opposition party in Algeria, said in a statement after meeting the President.
The skepticism around Tebboune’s governance is real, especially as many do not trust him, considering he worked for Abdelaziz’s regime as a Prime Minister back in time. Some Opposition Parties like the Rally for Culture and Democracy also seem not to be on the right terms with Mr. Abdelmadjid. The latter has scores of frenemies to deal with.
One of the significant reasons why Algerians strongly demand the resignation of Mr. Tebboune is because they feel he does not satisfy the desire for change. Nevertheless, on Thursday, the President announced that the legislative elections and cabinet reshuffle would kick off later this year. However, some commentators did not hesitate to voice out their opinions.
The President also signed a Presidential pardon for 30 detainees over 24 waiting to go on trial. As such, a total of 55 to 60 people will go home to their families starting the next day. The protestors had been demanding prisoners’ release for quite some time.
Mr. Mahmoud Bougheriou, a prominent member of the RCD, took to challenging the critics. He told them that the time to debate whether to participate in legislative elections was no more, as their country’s fate was at stake.
“Here we are talking about mobilizing and returning to the streets because today the Algerian people cannot go forward with this regime that has been in place since our independence.”
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