A huge victory for regular people in Algeria
Normally the skeptics can find something wrong with any protest movement.
For the McResistance and the Tea Party, it was the fact that they were astroturf'd.
For the Yellow Vests, it was the pointless vandalism.
For Occupy Wall Street, it was the failure to accomplish any major goals.
None of those things apply to Algeria today.
The “Herak” movement (Hirak Sha’bi) is everything you could ask for:
massive in size
totally grassroots in nature
absolutely refusing to accept anything but complete capitulation to their demands.
Algerian Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui will resign soon to pave the way for elections this year that the army sees as the only way to end a standoff over months of protests, two senior sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Bedoui’s departure is a major demand of protesters, who in April forced president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to quit after 20 years in office, and who have rejected fresh elections until there is a more thorough change of the power structure.
To bring you up to speed, the protests started in February, and they forced out the long-time dictator Bouteflika a few months later.
Normally the story ends there. Hurrah the king has been overthrown! Everyone goes home, and quietly another crook takes his place.
However, this time the protestors did something that almost no one expected.
Students holding a weekly protest on Tuesday chanted that they would accept no elections “until the gang is removed”, a reference to Bouteflika’s power circle, an elite entrenched largely since independence from France in 1962.
...The mass demonstrations began in February and have continued since Bouteflika’s departure, with the loose-knit “Herak” movement demanding that all figures associated with him also leave and that the army play a smaller role in state affairs.
The election had been scheduled for July, but was postponed as a result of the crisis, leaving major oil- and gas-exporter Algeria in a constitutional deadlock.
Over the summer the authorities have made concessions by arresting more prominent figures linked to Bouteflika on corruption charges, while increasing the pressure on protesters with a bigger police presence at demonstrations.
However, Herak has no formal leaders, making it hard to negotiate with. “We will not stop protests, this is our chance to uproot the corrupt system,” Khelifa Saad, 20, said at a protest on Tuesday in Algiers.
One by one, the establishment has sacrificed one corrupt official after another while trying to appease the mass movement without success.
Wealthy businessmen like Ali Haddad, who made a fortune from state contracts, were carted off to jail. So were the president’s brother, two former spy chiefs and other powerful behind-the-scenes figures known as le pouvoir.
Two former prime ministers have also been arrested.
The government has cracked down harder and harder on the protestors, but there is no central figures to arrest and no violence for an excuse. Unlike Egypt, these protestors chant, “The army isn’t the solution”.
Independent trade unions have been involved since day one, staging strikes and marches.
The regime-affiliated UGTA played a reactionary role against the protest movement, but that produced in-house protests during the summer, which forced the general secretary to step down.
And now the governing elite has been forced to sacrifice their appointed Prime Minister.
We could be on the verge of actual democracy breaking out in Algeria.