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Thousands of Algerian activists mark second year of protest

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers, one with a plaque reading "Square of Feb.22, 2019, the Smiling Revolution" to mark the second anniversary of the Hir...
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...
A woman holds an Algerian flag as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. Februar...
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...
Algerians take the streets as they demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 mark...
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...
Algerians demonstrate, one with a poster reading "Resistance Monday" in Algiers as they mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb....
Women take part to demonstration in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second a...
A woman holds a newspaper headlining "Feb.22, History coming" as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement...
Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. Thousands of protesters marking the secon...
A man holds a bone while shouting "That's what's left for those who vote for the President" as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second ann...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers, one with a plaque reading "Square of Feb.22, 2019, the Smiling Revolution" to mark the second anniversary of the Hir...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...

A woman holds an Algerian flag as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. Februar...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...

Algerians take the streets as they demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 mark...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second anniversary ...

Algerians demonstrate, one with a poster reading "Resistance Monday" in Algiers as they mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb....

Women take part to demonstration in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. February 22 marks the second a...

A woman holds a newspaper headlining "Feb.22, History coming" as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement...

Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak movement, Monday Feb. 22, 2021. Thousands of protesters marking the secon...

A man holds a bone while shouting "That's what's left for those who vote for the President" as Algerians demonstrate in Algiers to mark the second ann...

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Thousands of protesters marking the second anniversary of Algeria’s pro-democracy movement took to the streets Monday in the Algerian capital where a wall of security forces stepped aside to let marchers pass.

The protesters of the Hirak movement helped force long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power in 2019. Scores of marchers were arrested, but after marching for 53 consecutive Fridays, it was a formal ban on demonstrations with the arrival of the coronavirus that forced protesters off the streets a year ago.

The reappearance of protesters came days after President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, in a conciliatory gesture, freed more than 30 jailed protesters, though dozens remain behind bars. The president also dissolved parliament to pave the way for new elections, among the demands of the Hirak movement.

“We didn’t come to celebrate but to set ourselves free,” was among the cries of marchers.

The activists are pressing for a full makeover of the opaque system governing Algeria, with the military in the shadows, which has been at the helm since Algeria won its independence war against France in 1962. The boldness of the protesters, defying the system, had caught authorities by surprise.

Protesters took to the streets in numerous other towns after a large demonstration Sunday in Bejaia, a coastal city east of Algiers.

Police blocked main streets in the center of Algiers early Monday before stepping onto sidewalks as marchers arrived. The stream of activists, men, women and children, filled the capital's streets, recalling the height of the Hirak movement.

“Demonstrating is a right (in) our constitution, but because of COVID-19, special measures are needed,” Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum said on Algerian state radio, in apparent reference to the heavy security and the year-long halt to the marches.


Updated : 2021-03-01 15:59 GMT+08:00