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Algeria's protest movement marks first anniversary

Algeria's Hirak movement is still mobilizing Algerians a year since its first peaceful protest.
Algerian students and other protesters take part in an anti-government demonstration in the capital Algiers, on February 18, 2020. - Anti-government protesters were back on the street for the 56th consecutive tuesday, ahead of the 1 year anniversary of the "Hirak", a months-long unprecedented reform movement calling for ending a system in place since the country's independence from France in 1962. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP) (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI/AFP via Getty Images)

On Feb. 16, the Algerian town of Kherrata held a demonstration to mark the first anniversary of the Hirak protest movement. It was in this small northeast city where the year before, the first mobilization against now-deposed President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his regime erupted. That protest is largely considered to have paved the way for similar events in other cities in the days after that would finally crystalize in nationwide demonstrations on Feb. 22, the formal beginning of the Hirak movement.

This year's protest in Kherrata took place amidst calls for mass mobilization on Feb. 21, to commemorate the birth of the movement and support the protests that have been asking for radical change in Algeria for 52 consecutive weeks. During this time, the Hirak has become what many consider one of the most powerful political movements in the country’s recent history, forcing the reshuffling of much of the political and economic leadership under Bouteflika.

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