The Fall of Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algerians Want Their Country Back

Algerians celebrate Bouteflika's resignation in Algiers, April 2019 Ramzi Boudina / Reuters

The movement began with chants of “No fifth mandate!” Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of Algeria since 1999 and just shy of his 82nd birthday, was preparing to run for a fifth term in office, and Algerians decided that they had had enough.

In mid-February, demonstrations against Bouteflika began in two provincial towns in eastern Algeria, Bordj Bou Arréridj and Kherrata. On Friday, February 22, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the capital, Algiers, and other cities. Public TV and radio stations tried to ignore the news, but senior journalists resigned and staged their own protest the following week. Over the next five Fridays, demonstrations swelled, with first hundreds of thousands and then millions of people turning out to protest the regime in every town and city across the country. During the week, army veterans, firefighters, judges, journalists, lawyers, students, and teachers marched. The popular movement (or hirak), demonstrators

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