The mobilization on social media has succeeded in taking thousands of Algerians on the occasion of the second anniversary of the movement of February 22, 2019, to the streets in the largest cities of the country, especially Algiers, where it suddenly regained its public momentum during the height of the Corona epidemic.
Not all the security reinforcements that have cordoned off all the entrances to the capital for 3 days have not succeeded in curbing the demonstrators to return to their previous marches, nor did the warning messages of the army leadership solve the chaos or political decisions announced by President Abdel Majid Tebboune on the National Day of the Martyr, which falls on February 18th. Without proceeding with the protest.
The photos circulating on the activists’ pages in the blue space show the response of citizens, in large numbers, to the calls for demonstrations that have spread recently in the name of a call attributed to the so-called “Forum for Free Algerians”.
The heart of the Algerian capital, specifically the Central Post Square, which has the symbolism of mobility, and all the surrounding streets, were known to the participants from the early hours of Monday morning, until they became in the thousands, according to estimates by figures from within the movement.
The same situation lived on in many governorates, although with varying public attendance, most notably Oran, Tlemcen, Sidi Bel Abbas, Al-Tarif, Bejaia, Annaba, Mostaganem, Bouira, Tizi, Ouzou, Jijel and others.
The usual slogans of the popular movement calling for radical change, rejecting the results of the electoral process for the presidencies of December 12, 2019, and the resulting roadmap for reform adopted by President Abdel Majid Tebboune resounded.
Participants also preferred to raise slogans focused on national unity and the peaceful character of the movement, especially since February 22nd became officially called “the National Day of Brotherhood and Cohesion between the People and their Army” by virtue of a presidential decree.
This was reflected in the Monday demonstrations, as its field facts did not differ from the 2019 movement, by securing security men and accompanying them to the marches, without any slippage or incidents of violence being recorded.
In this regard, human rights activist Mustapha Bouchachi, who was one of the most prominent figures at the forefront of the ranks of the demonstration, affirmed that “the Algerians did not go out to celebrate the anniversary of February 22, 2019, but because they believed that they had not yet achieved the first revolutionary goals, after they had forced marches 11 months ago. Because of the Corona pandemic, but the spirit of mobility continued to inhabit their hearts and minds.
He told Al-Jazeera Net, “I thought that the political system would take advantage of the masses leaving the streets to open up to society, but on the contrary, it carried out a series of arrests and imprisonment of activists, and further restricted freedom of expression.”
He explained that what the capital experienced on the second anniversary of the movement was a similar image to the Algerian people’s demonstrations in 2019, “where thousands of citizens poured out chanting the same slogans, and the same situation was known in different cities across the country in all its regions without discrimination.”
Bouchachi added that the most prominent demand was chanted on the throats of the crowd, which is the chanting of “civil, not military,” and “step down,” meaning they all leave, and all the original slogans of the movement in its first start.
At the last minute, the regime tried, through a package of political measures, to block the way for the movement to return to the streets, but it failed to dissuade the Algerians from leaving, as they were certain that it was just an improvisational maneuver, according to Bouchachi.
In this regard, Bouchachi mentioned that the president cannot issue amnesty to dozens of militants, while their cases are still in the corridors of justice without final judgments. Even “the dissolution of parliament is meaningless after the regime used it for two years to pass laws and the new constitution itself, and today it is disposed of under the pretext Illegitimacy, because what is built on falsehood is false and more deserving of cancellation, “as he put it.
He also bemoaned the recent government amendment by saying, “The mountain gave birth to a mouse,” surprising the appointment of Bouteflika’s men among its new staff, “which indicates that the situation continues as it is.”
Rather, he emphasized that these provocative measures encouraged the Algerians to go out massively in the memory of the movement, realizing that the system is not completely ready to meet their demands for actual change, and “the evidence is the closure of the capital and the descent of the security forces terribly, one day after the calm speech.”
Therefore, he stressed that the Algerians today are more convinced that their peaceful revolution remains the only means to achieve the desired goal, and the movement will continue in the coming Fridays, rather, the protest escalation in other ways against the regime.
On the other hand, the analyst Boumediene Bouzid, a university professor of philosophy, gave a different reading of the event, stressing that the rejection of the movement in the first time of the fifth term was an earthquake that shook the throne of President Bouteflika and those around him, “so that the will for change triumphs, full of the values of patriotism, religion and humanity, under the eye of a guardian. And an escort from the army. “
As for the second version of the movement, it expresses in its opinion a rejection of what has been accomplished in the past two years altogether, despite the glimmer of hope in the speech of Martyrs Day.
Bouzid said in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that the commemoration activities, despite being tagged with beautiful terms, were revived by the radical transitionalists in their own way, and “those who referred to the president of the republic were milked in their vessels with political decisions that the people do not care much about.”
Therefore, he described the renewed marches as a second, mutated wave of the movement that raises slogans that have a psychological and mental impact on the citizens, because they invest in the spirit of searching for dignity and restoring honor.
Regarding its future, the speaker expected 3 scenes, which are the force of the second wave that results in the authority making concessions that open the appetite of the street, or a clash and a security grip.
While the second scenario shows a diminution in the strength of the movement, and this requires intelligence and tactics from the authority, our interlocutor does not believe that the bitters are ready to understand it.
As for the most dangerous thing, it is for some radicals to ally with the threats to unity and stability, or to clash with the army, and here the movement commits suicide to put an end to the dreams of a smooth transition to democracy with the slightest damage, as he put it.
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