The following is a project created by Michael de Vulpillieres for the Global Pandemics in an Unequal World taught by Prof. Sakiko Fukuda-Parr.
Photo Credit: Ramzi Boudina/Reuters
The Algerian protest movement, the Hirak, began in February of 2019 as weekly street demonstrations across the country protesting the candidacy of the country’s 81-year-old president for a fifth term. But the movement’s grievances were much broader than that. Decades of political inertia, economic stagnation, repression, and other concerns related to a state military apparatus, brought a massive and diverse coalition to the streets. After a year of successes and momentum, the Hirak was forced to halt in-person marches at the beginning of COVID-19. In order to envision what a post-pandemic Algeria will look like, this paper examines how the pandemic has forced the Hirak to redefine itself; how the state has leveraged power in a crisis to recapture their own narrative; and how COVID-19 will further expose the failings of the Algerian government that gave rise to the Hirak in the first place. Looming large over this context is the North African nation’s complicated history of anticolonial revolution, popular mobilization and civil war.
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