Algeria’s revolution is in full swing – but an obsession with the historical defeat of French colonisers has put it under threat

It is this nostalgic reliance on militarism, and indeed a police state, that the revolutionaries need to address, especially as repressive measures in support of Algeria’s interim president are being stepped up

Nabila Ramdani
Thursday 29 August 2019 16:49 BST
Algerians celebrate President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's resignation

Anyone still searching for the idealistic spirit of the Arab Spring can find it in abundance in Algeria. The largest country in Africa is imbued with democratic intent, and ongoing protests aimed at trying to ensure a more just society remain peaceful.

The millions massing on the streets of major cities such as Algiers and Oran, and indeed in towns and villages, won a hugely impressive victory on 2 April this year, when president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the personification of the country’s old order, finally resigned after two decades in power.

It marked an initial high point in the so-called Revolution of Smiles – an attempt to emulate 2011, when new technology, and especially the internet, was used to mobilise huge swathes of the Arab world against autocratic rulers. Youthful exuberance replaced abject cynicism, as the Arab Spring raised aspirations that profound change really was possible without bloodshed.

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