Middle East

Crowds march in Algiers in weekly pro-democracy protest

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully in Algeria’s capital Friday to support the Hirak pro-democracy movement.

The huge crowds filling the streets of Algiers headed toward the imposing central post office, the movement’s traditional rallying point, in a joyful atmosphere.

Many participants sang, brandished the Algerian flag and shouted slogans that included “No to the military state” and “We won’t stop until the Hirak wins” under the watch of police helicopters. Similar marches were organized in other cities across the country.

Hirak’s peaceful protests helped force long-time Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office in 2019. His successor, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has promised to reform the power structure that under Bouteflika was marked by corruption and the ever-present shadow of the army.

Some of the protesters in the capital chanted for the “independence of justice” and “press freedom,” a reference to journalists and activists who have been arrested and sent to trial amid the Hirak protests.

University professor and Hirak activist Nacer Djabi told The Associated Press that the crowd looked like “a human tsunami in the streets of Algiers.”

“That’s a great response to those saying the Hirak is losing strength,” Djabi said. “Hirak’s youth will continue until the revolution fully succeed.”

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