Human Rights

Algeria: Students Mark A Year Of Protest Movement

North Africa

Just over a year has passed since the start of the protest movement in Algeria that is seeking to bring democratic changes to the country.

Over the past week Algerians who have been part of the Hirak movement have come out to the streets to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the protest movement which brought down former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and has voiced an array of democratic demands to the political establishment.

This week saw students make their voices heard in the capital Algiers. Young people have represented the epicentre of the protests throughout, coming out every week for a year to voice their demands.

“On the first anniversary of our movement, we went out to renew the covenant to overthrow these corrupt dictators”, stated Abd al-Jabbar, a university student at the protests in Algiers.

The students out to protest are continuing to call for drastic changes to the political status quo in Algeria, which has changed little despite the downfall of Bouteflika.

“We no longer want you [the political regime] and these demonstrations are serious. Stop messing around with Algeria and with the future generations”, expressed Zakariya, another university student at the protests

The ruling elite has reproduced itself at the top of the political order, which is currently being lead by president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was voted in as president in December 2019 under dubious circumstances, wherein the voter turnout was substantially small.

Human rights violations committed against protesters have been ongoing for a number of months, with hundreds of civil activists being detained and held without trial.

The protests have attracted a broad demographic in Algeria not only limited to young people and students. Professionals, especially lawyers and judges working in the legal system, have been present at the protests, often making separate demands regarding reforms in the justice system. Other types of civil activists have also joined the protests, including those advocating rights for ethno-linguistic minorities, especially the Amazigh.