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Algerian Hirak Protesters Refuse to Back Down

Mass protests in Algeria resumed over the weekend, with close to 1,000 people aligned with the Hirak movement detained or arrested in the capital and other major cities. Police confronted would-be marchers, preventing demonstrations from approaching government buildings and clashing with protesters. The Hirak movement, which began staging marches in 2019 in opposition to longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term, has persisted in its demands for sweeping reforms of Algeria’s governing mechanisms, even after Bouteflika’s resignation. Most Algerians boycotted the election of his successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, and a referendum later held on constitutional amendments deemed unsatisfactory by the protest movement. With parliamentary elections scheduled for early next month, Algeria is facing a deteriorating economic crisis, made worse by the global COVID-19 pandemic.