Hirak in Algeria: Dangerous use of force against students on Tuesday

The Hirak in Algeria is definitely gone to last in the face of the lack of results for two years. On Tuesday, while a ban on demonstrating and assembling is in force, the young students gave a new warning to the Algerian authorities.

About 2,000 Algerians, mostly students, but also their teachers and several elderly people, women and men, marched through the Algerian streets to signify the resumption of Hirak, an apolitical movement that brings together the whole country.

“We will not stop”, repeated the students from the capital, Algiers, breaking the security cordon put in place by the police, which had become dangerously more repressive in recent weeks, whereas for two years the Hirak had not never been attacked by the police.

But faced with the failure of Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s attempts to look good in front of the inquisitive eyes of Western democracies, it is once again repression that has been chosen to scare and discourage protesters.

Despite everything, the demonstrators have found an ingenious parade to minimize the excesses. And it is the elderly, grandfathers and grandmothers who have been on the front line of the demonstrations, posted face to face with the police force.

Waving the Algerian flag in front of the security forces who had repressed the demonstrations of last Friday with batons and tear gas, the old people also shouted “Dawla madania machi askaria” (A civil and not military state), the famous slogan of the demonstrations.

But despite the presence of the elders, the police pushed and squeezed the demonstrators when they began to call for independence. “Istiqlal! Istiqlal !, they shouted after humming the Algerian national anthem and specifying that their marches are peaceful.

“The generals in the trash, fi ldjazayr talbine l’istiqlal (in Algeria we are asking for independence)”, they continued to assail, and the women went from yous-yous to frightened cries. And to continue to demonstrate, the students had to make their way to escape the police and took the road to the Casbah, through the small alleys.

In 2019, these were the same students who had started the demonstrations every Tuesday in the company of their teachers, and it is thanks to their mobilization that the Hirak marches gained in rhythm.

The demonstrations took place in several cities of the country, in particular in Béjaia, where the Hirak directly called for the political transition “Siada chaabia, Marhala intikalia” (The people who decide, a political transition), chanted the demonstrators.

As in Algiers, it was the elderly who were in the front rows and behind them, the students. Two years after the start of the peaceful Hirak marches, the Algerian people therefore continue to demand a free and democratic state.

None of the demands have been forgotten, nothing has changed since 2019, except that the people are even more determined to make their voices heard and their discontent heard by making it clear that they do not want “Neither”. Islamist state or military state ”, but“ an independent Algeria ”.

For Algerians, it is a new part of their history that is being written today by defying the ban on gatherings and anti-covid-19 measures.

If Abdelmadjid Tebboune tries to initiate “reforms”, in particular with his restricted cabinet reshuffle, or by dissolving Parliament, calling early legislative elections, but his approach is a denial of the demands of the people who want a complete change of regime.

The Algerians had boycotted the presidential election, recently boycotted the referendum on the amendment of the Constitution and will certainly once again boycott the legislative elections because they refuse to participate in the plan decreed by a president who does not represent them, for whom they did not vote, they accuse.

Following the resumption in force of the Hirak demonstrations in Algeria, France reacted by affirming to follow the situation “very closely”.

France considers that it is “for the Algerians and for them alone to determine the path of their future”, declared the head of the French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, while saying to respect the sovereignty of this friendly country.

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