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Algerian courts use cover of pandemic to reverse protesters' gains

Reforms sought by Algeria's Harek, or mass movement, are "stillborn" as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the coming of the coronavirus pandemic, protesters who once thronged Algeria's city centers in the hundreds of thousands have vanished. In their absence, state power is reasserting itself.

Through 2019 and the early months of 2020, Algeria's mass protest movement, called the Hirak, made stunning gains when it took to the streets in opposition to the stifling bureaucracy and endemic corruption of the opaque cadre — or pouvoir — of military leaders, trade unionists and business elites surrounding the office of the president.

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