Algeria: the power wants to bury the dispute with the virus, according to analysts

Algérie: le pouvoir veut enterrer la contestation grâce au virus, selon des analystes

Tunis | The algerian government took advantage of the disease Covid-19 to try to bury once and for all, the popular movement, which has shaken it for a year, until her recent suspension, and to prevent any recurrence, say analysts.

Since the beginning of the health crisis and the shutdown of the weekly demonstrations, the repression continues to fall on opponents, journalists, independent media and young people.

At the same time, the rushed adoption of legislation criminalizing the dissemination of false information and hate speech on the internet raises fears of an attempt to “stifle” freedom of expression.

“It is the return to the order of iron, the same who, in the 1970s, required all Algerian and all Algerians of the loop and spinning right”, lambasted the journalist Akram Belkaïd in his column for “The Daily of Oran”, journal francophone independent.

“The “Hirak” (the protest movement, editor’s NOTE) won the match to go. The power is in the process of winning the encounter back to its “true” purpose is to prevent that there is a rematch, in other words, a resurgence of protests when the epidemic will be under control”, said Mr Belkaïd.


“The pandemic is blessed bread to the power-up that has a chance insolent. The confinement period lends itself to the efforts of police and judicial matters”, abounds Karima Direche, historian, specialist of the Maghreb.

“Which explains the dozens of arrests of known and unknown people in all the cities of Algeria,” she remarks. “The detentions and the judgments once again proves that the judiciary is totally subservient to the Executive.”

For 56 weeks, conspuant corruption, nepotism, and “the military State”, the “Hirak” has called for a change of the “system” in place since independence in 1962. In vain, even if he got the head of Abdelaziz Bouteflika after 20 years of reign.

“They emit all!” was a slogan highlights of this uprising is unprecedented, peaceful, plural and without leadership.

But for the new president Abdelmadjid Tebboune, “true democracy cannot be built in the framework of a strong State, with its justice and its national cohesion”.

Mr Tebboune justified by the “national sovereignty” measures of censorship of online sites accused of being in the pay of”organization foreign.”

In front of him and to the army, “which remains more than ever before,” according to Ms. Direche, the political opposition is weak and divided.

“We find ourselves in a situation where the regime is gaining ground, consolidated by the suspension of the pandemic, the lack of alternative vision to his own, reassuring and readable,” wrote recently the algerian author Kamel Daoud in an interview with the daily life in geneva “The Time”.

“There is not one plan but several, in the internal competition, obviously, tempted some real reforms, others by even more stringent controls”, ” he pointed out.

“Ideas do not die”

The power is however weakened not only by the “Hirak,” and the emergency care, but also by the fall in the price of hydrocarbons, which poses a threat of a severe economic crisis, Algeria, hyper-dependent on oil revenue.

“The government is more concerned with the recovery of economic activities, social and academic, that of the recovery of the “Hirak””, argues Mansour Kedidir, a researcher at the research Centre in social and cultural anthropology (CRASC) of Oran.

“The new president will implement promised reforms, the draft of the new Constitution at the opening of other projects at the institutional level. He plans to instill a new dynamic in the economy and to establish his credit in the society. The task is difficult”, says the political scientist.

Even the fact that the president Tebboune, evil, elected in December with 60 % of abstention, wants to register the “Hirak” in the marble of the Constitution, on the occasion of a revision, it means that he is preparing to sign the notice of death, according to observers.

“Taking advantage of the health emergency and of the containment, there is indeed a willingness to atomize the “Hirak”. But the regime can’t see that the “Hirak”, it is before all ideas and ideas do not die,” says Asma Mechakra, a researcher in the biomedical field, which is campaigning for the release of Karim Tabuu, an emblematic figure of the protest in prison.

“Maybe my generation won’t see the change but we have left the fertile soil for the flowering of a new Algeria,” predicts the young scientist.

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