During Algeria’s 2019 Hirak protests, the largest demonstrations were typically held on Tuesdays. While the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on last year’s protests, in 2021 they seem to be far better organized as they attempt to revive the movement.
Two years after Algerians took to the streets in massive numbers to demand then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika resign, they are protesting once more.
Like the original “Hirak” (Arabic for “movement”), Monday’s protest was preceded by a smaller demonstration a week prior. According to Reuters, about 5,000 demonstrators protested on February 16 in Kherrata, a town east of the capital of Algiers where the Hirak began in 2019. They chanted “A civilian state, not a military state,” and “The gang must go,” among other slogans. They waved both the national flag of Algeria and the flag of the Imazighen people, who are indigenous to Algeria and the Sahara region and the country’s largest non-Arab ethnic group.
Monday’s demonstrations were much larger and saw widespread clashes with police, who set up security checkpoints around the capital and attempted to block the crowds from gathering around the Grand Post Office, the epicenter of the 2019 protests. Demonstrations also took place in Annaba, Oran, Setif and Mostaganem. At least 59 people were arrested across the country, including 26 in Algiers, according to Agence France-Presse.
Ahead of the anticipated mass protests,…