During Eid al-Fitr, the religious holiday celebrated by Muslims at the end of the month-long Ramadan, the Algerian popular protest movement Hirak took to the streets again despite the ban on large gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Photos and videos were shared on social media of protesters marching in the city of Sétif on Sunday in support of political prisoners, several dozen of whom are still held in detention despite the aggravated risk of contracting the virus in prison.
Hirak activists and supporters have accused the Algerian government of using the COVID-19 lockdown to suppress the movement, stifle speech critical of the government, and subject organizers to arbitrary arrests.
Returning to Where It Started
On Monday, a protest march was held in Kherrata, the northern town where the first Hirak march took place on February 16, 2019, against the candidacy for a fifth term of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. This kicked off a wave of protests that led to his resignation. Abdelmadjid Tebboune won the presidential election and assumed office in December.
The movement has continued, calling for an end to corruption, the removal of the political old guard, and a complete overhaul of the political system.