In 2019, protests broke out when Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika decided to pursue a fifth term in office despite his poor leadership. The unprecedented protest led to the former leader announcing his resignation from office in April last year. The pro-democracy protestors backed by a powerful army chief in Algeria successfully managed to push him out of office, and President Tebboune took over after winning an election.
When President Tebboune took over as head of the country, he started his first order to end the mass protests in Algeria. But this has been difficult to achieve so far as the same protest movement has been on his case, saying his election was a scam. Tebboune, on the other hand, has praised the protest group greatly. The President sought to move past the protests by calling for a revision of the constitution. Tebboune saw that including some tweaks in the constitution would help Algeria move past the administration’s dislike with limited concessions. Additionally, Tebboune saw the move to boost his publicity as not so many people voted for him despite his election into office in December.
But just like election day, hundreds of thousands of people did not show up to vote for the constitutional referendum. The youth-led Hirak protest movement, which had called for a boycott of the elections, also asked their followers to boycott the referendum poll. The constitutional referendum saw a meager turnout as just 23.7 percent of registered voters cast ballots. But the constitutional referendum still passed with two-thirds of the vote.
Protests Stop due to COVID-19.
But before things could get better in Algeria, the coronavirus pandemic hit the nation. In two months, the nation with 44 million people confirmed more than 58,979 cases and 2,000 deaths. Algeria’s newly elected President also got infected with the virus and was hospitalized in Algiers’ health facility. The President, a heavy smoker, received treatment in an Algiers military hospital for some time. Later on, medical personnel transferred him to a specialized German hospital. Experts believed the head of state-contracted the disease from one of his staff’s several senior members. Tebboune’s infection made him not attend and participate in the referendum.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought an end to Algeria’s mass protests as a lockdown was ordered. The Hirak protest movement agreed to halt the demonstrations as they claimed they cared about Algeria’s people. But this week, thousands of people took the streets once more. The protesters claim the government didn’t stop them. They say they only stopped demonstrating for health reasons. According to them, the coronavirus is over in Algeria, and they plan on getting the Hirak back up and running.
More than 5,000 protesters showed up this week to voice their support for the Hirak protest movement after the COVID-19 crisis forced it off the streets last year. Numerous people waved Algerian flags while chanting they want a civilian state, not a military state. The Hirak movement has called for the removal of all Algeria’s entrenched political elite. The protest group has continued to mobilize tens of thousands of protesters for the precise goal.