When mass protests erupted in Algeria in 2019, on a scale unseen anywhere in the region since the Arab Spring, the outside world was taken by surprise. Algeria had been largely unaffected by the turmoil that engulfed its neighbours in 2011, and it was widely assumed that the population was too traumatised and cowed by the country’s bloody civil war to take to the streets demanding change.
Michael J. Willis offers an explanation of this unexpected development known as the Hirak Movement, examining the political and social changes that have occurred in Algeria since the ‘dark decade’ of the 1990s. He examines how the bitter civil conflict was brought to an end, and how a fresh political order was established following the 1999 election of a dynamic new leader, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Initially underwritten by revenue from Algeria’s substantial hydrocarbons resources, this new order came to be undermined by falling oil prices, an ailing president, and a population determined to have its voice heard by an increasingly corrupt, out-of-touch and opaque national leadership. Exactly twenty years passed before Bouteflika’s presidency was brought to an end by the Hirak protests—this book is an authoritative account of them.