Mass popular movement “Hirak” in Algeria - a new “Arab Spring”?

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Researcher, Center for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Center for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 12

Serious changes are taking place in socio-political life of Algeria. The mass protest movement "Hirak", which began in 2019, after the country's president announced his decision to run for a fifth term, continues to these days. Despite his resignation, a prompt change of political leadership and elections to a new parliament, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in all cities of Algeria insist on further democratization and genuine modernization of socio-political and socio-economic structures, taking into account the interests and needs of young people. Indeed, more than half of the population of Algeria is under 30 years old, and unemployment among them reaches 24%.

A distinctive tendency of the protest movement was the active participation of young people, which, according to the new leadership of the country, is the true real wealth of the state. Analysts note the awakening of collective consciousness in Algeria. Hirak's ability to make quick decisions during a pandemic shows that demonstrations are an instrument of extremely broad public momentum.

Certain positive shifts towards changes have taken place - the president, who has been in power for 20 years, has resigned. However, the political situation can hardly be called stable. Including the majority of popular revolutionary protest actions in African countries ended with an immediate deepening of conservatism, the strengthening of traditionalism and the surge of radical Islamism.

Probably, only in a fairly long-term perspective we can expect a real modernized stabilization of the socio-political situation, without which progressive economic development and its derivatives: an increase in the standard of living of the population and a decrease in unemployment are unrealizable.

KeywordsAlgeria, "Hirak", mass peaceful protests, instability, modernization, social movement
Publication date08.12.2021
Number of characters23923
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