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Out of Sight – but Not Out of Anger (AUDIO INTERVIEW)
People throng to the streets of Algiers during protests in June 2019. (Rihem Jeon/Wikimedia Commons)

Out of Sight – but Not Out of Anger (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

The Media Line speaks with Algeria hand Michael Willis about a movement that deposed a president, set its sights on more and then dutifully maintained a low profile over coronavirus

Algeria’s Hirak movement took to the streets just over a year ago after Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the country’s long-ailing leader, declared his candidacy for a fifth term as president.

Seeing the spreading rage, Bouteflika backed down and even departed the scene. The budding movement then turned its sights to the very system that had kept him in power for 20 years, a profoundly entrenched elite seen as having its tendrils extended deep into every facet of the country’s governance and social structure.

Hirak adherents maintained a sense of national anger that simmered, yet never boiled over. Their weekly protests – sometimes coming twice a week – were loud but respectful and often good-natured affairs. They held out until the Algerian government banned large gatherings last month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the movement now largely out of sight, The Media Line spoke with Dr. Michael Willis, an Algeria expert at the University of Oxford, to learn more on what this might mean for Hirak’s future, as well as that of Algeria.

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