20th Friday

Millions of Algerians come out on Independence Day to demand end of military rule

in North Africa/Stories

Grandiose demonstrations took part in all parts of Algeria to demand a radical change of the political system and the end of the military rule that has been in place since 1962.

Clearly displaying their rejection of the system put in place since 1962, the demonstrators, draped with the national emblem, paid a vibrant tribute to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives to free the country from the colonial yoke.

Through resounding slogans in the boulevards and streets of all the major cities of the country, the demonstrators expressed their determination to continue the fight for a “free and democratic Algeria“, as dreamed by the independence war’s martyrs.

Flags, signs and banners bearing the image of historical figures and patriotic songs were abundant, with the demonstrators celebrating, as never before, this historic date by loudly demanding a new Republic and the rule of law.

If figures of heroes of the Revolution have always been present in the demonstrations since the beginning of the Hirak, never have the streets of the capital been haloed by so many images of the emblematic figures of the National War of Liberation.

Moreover, the demonstrators, always up to date in their slogans, strongly demanded the release of the moudjahid (war hero) Bouregaâ during this 20th demonstration. “Free Algeria, liberate Bouregaâ“, demanded many protesters in Algiers and other cities. Others chanted “Ya Amirouche, ya Lhouaes, Bouregaâ mesdjoun and El Harrach” (Amirouche, Si El Haoues, know that Bouregaâ is in prison in El Harrach). One way for these demonstrators to denounce the arrest of this war hero, commander of the historic Wilaya IV during the liberation war, on the eve of Independence Day.

The Algerian people also denounced the dangerous liaisons the current regime holds with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, two countries whose royal families’ legitimacy can be questioned.

Beaten for celebrating independence day

The Algerian police proceeded to viciously repress the peaceful demonstrators towards the end of the afternoon. Tear gas was used and some demonstrators were seriously injured.

A video that speaks for itself has emerged yesterday showing police officers stomping on demonstrators lying in the ground.

Warning: the following footage may be distressing to some individuals, viewer discretion advised.

A hijacked independence

After 1962, Algeria experienced a short-lived period of real independence. Little did Algerians know that after France, another colonial power would come into power, far worse than its predecessor. Over the decades, the new colonial power, embodied mostly by high ranking military personnel, brought the country to ruin, appointing a civil facade throughout, over and over again, without relinquishing power.

Lately the discourse has shifted in its essence, with most Algerians increasingly denouncing this new colonialism that they see as having hijacked the independence war. Activists, political opponents and your average Algerian have been increasingly calling for the departure of all the military and civil figures they see as culpable of betraying the nation.

Finally, it must be recalled that the interim president’s term ends on the 9th of July, when the country will seize having legitimate authorities.

Jeffrey Nicholson contributes to the Algiers Herald in affairs related to public relations and politics. He has in the past worked as a senior officer for a large PR multinational based in the U.K.

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