Politics & Economics

Algeria: Protest Movement Continues To Assert Democratic Demands

North Africa

Several political parties and civil society organisations in Algeria remain steadfast in their unity in asserting democratic demands.

The protest movement in Algeria, commonly known as Hirak, is approaching its annual anniversary and is continuing to keep its momentum despite political setbacks.

Various political parties, civil society organisations and social activists are continuing to organise weekly protests, which normally take place on Fridays or Tuesdays, and are keen on maintaining unity within the protest movement. They are persevering in their democratic demands for respect for human rights and political, economic and social justice.

“The revolution will reach its goals. In the meantime, we must unite our forces to make this democratic initiative real”, stated Fathi Gharras, a coordinator in the Democratic and Social Movement.

A protest was recently organised with the aim of demanding the release of political prisoners who were jailed by the government for the activity as part of the political opposition and their social activism.

“We have come out today to demand the ousting of the entire regime. We are tired of them because they have looted the country. We have come out for the sake of the detainees, especially Karim Tabou, who still has not been released because he simply spoke the truth”, expressed a protester in Algiers.

Such protests have at times led to successes, leading to the release of 94 political prisoners. Nevertheless, it is said that 124 individuals remain in jail for politically-motivated reasons.

Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has stated that he is willing to enter into a dialogue with the protest movement in order to negotiate reforms that would fulfill the movement’s demands. Nevertheless, the radical democratic demands made by the protest movement is unlikely to be appeased by the status quo stance taken by the Algerian government.

Tebboune was voted in after controversial presidential elections took place on 12 December 2019. The interim government was heavily criticised for not opening up the space for political alternatives in the run-up to the elections, and instead nominating candidates linked to the political establishment.