Based on the massive turnout over the last few days, it’s no longer a matter of debate; Algeria is in the midst of an uprising against Bouteflika and the Algerian deep state.
Arab regimes are often very bad at gauging the popular mood. For years, we have advocated paying attention to protest signs in the MENA region as a window into the grievances, aspirations, and values of the protestors – and how they’re likely to act as events unfold.
Here are some of the best signs we’ve seen:
The Demands are Radical: Native Regime Change
The people feel empowered, and want a system centred around them
Absolute rejection of a 5th term for Bouteflika – his time is up
No faith in the regime, its establishments, or its symbols
Warnings against protests as being “disobedience of the ruler” by regime-aligned Islamic clerics are falling flat
Disenfranchised youth are finding their voice and want to be heard
A real sentiment of patriotism and pride – the people feel empowered, and are assuming ownership of their own country and its destiny
And as we’ve seen elsewhere – expressions of solidarity with the struggle of other Arab nations against tyranny
Rejecting Foreign Intervention, asserting the native nature of the uprising
The sentiment that Algerians are fighting a second battle for national liberation – the first being the struggle again French colonialism
Bonus: Some English translations of Algerian protest songs are available here.
The power of symbols: Take in all of the above, and you’ll understand how the protesters have already won the battle of narratives. This is a genuine patriotic reform movement, 100% made in Algeria. That’s why the Algerian regime is so cornered, and close to panicking.