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Algeria

CrisisWatch Algeria

Unchanged Situation

Harassment of journalists and civil society activists continued, while authorities announced referendum on new constitution. Court in capital Algiers 10 Aug sentenced journalist Khaled Drareni to three years in prison on charges of “inciting an unarmed gathering” and “undermining the integrity of the national territory”. Court in Constantine city 24 Aug sentenced journalist Abdelkrim Zeghileche to two years in prison on charges of “endangering national unity” and “insulting the head of state”. NGOs Reporters Without Borders 26 Aug said Algeria “must stop violating press freedom” and Amnesty International next day called on authorities to “immediately end escalating campaign of media harassment”. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, authorities 15 Aug reopened some mosques and most public places, but land, air and sea borders remained closed; 31 Aug relaxed movement restrictions with only 18 provinces still under curfew. During 18-20 Aug National Conference on the Economic and Social Recovery Plan, President Tebboune unveiled plan to revive economy and reduce dependence on oil and gas as source of foreign currencies by end of 2021; also ruled out turning to International Monetary Fund for support despite major economic downturn amid COVID-19 pandemic. Presidency 24 Aug set 1 Nov as date for referendum on new constitution that would give parliament and PM more powers; new constitution has been key demand of Hirak protest movement.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

20 Apr 2020
[...] here we have three crises -- economic, political and the virus -- potentially converging at a time when the population is still highly mobilized and trust in the [Algerian] state is low. Bloomberg

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
2 Apr 2020
The [Algerian] protest movement could be made more determined in the future due to the economic and social consequences of the [COVID-19] restrictions, as well as the repression. The National

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
10 Mar 2020
[The fall in oil prices] may not be so bad, if it is only for a month or two, but if it is for longer, [Algeria] will have to speed up its adoption of austerity measures. Financial Times

Riccardo Fabiani

Project Director, North Africa
5 Mar 2019
The army and intelligence services [in Algeria] are still important but not as an autonomous pole of power. Financial Times

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel
1 Mar 2019
Protests in Algeria are not about rule by one man but a system. One that has empowered a business class with close links to the state while progressively stifling economic and political liberties and excluding an earnest, educated youth. Twitter

Hannah Armstrong

Senior Consulting Analyst, Sahel

Latest Updates

Arab Protests: A Wicked Dance Between Rulers and Subjects

A new wave of popular protests has jolted an already deeply unsettled Arab world. Nine years ago, uprisings across the region signalled a rejection of corrupt autocratic rule that failed to deliver jobs, basic services and reliable infrastructure. Yet regime repression and the protests’ lack of organisation, leadership and unified vision thwarted hopes of a new order. As suddenly as the uprisings erupted, as quickly they descended into violence. What followed was either brutal civil war or regime retrenchment. Tunisia stands as the sole, still fragile, exception.

Originally published in Valdai Club

The Youth Movement in Sahrawi Refugee Camps

Refugee camps in Tindouf, Algeria, have long been run by the Polisario movement, which seeks an independent state in Western Sahara, also claimed by Morocco. But a new generation of Sahrawi refugees is growing fractious as aid dwindles and diplomatic efforts fail to deliver a settlement.

Algeria’s South: Trouble’s Bellwether

As waves of protests have hit the hydrocarbon-rich Algerian south since 2013, authorities maintained a tenuous peace through handouts, repression and policing. To calm tensions, the state needs to clarify policies, communicate with local protestors and address underlying issues of governance.

Also available in العربية, Français

Algeria and Its Neighbours

Algeria has emerged as an indispensable broker of stability in North Africa and the Sahel. But, especially as it enters a generational transition in domestic politics, it needs better strategies to deal with financial pressures, a neighbourhood in turmoil, cross-border jihadi threats, and ongoing tensions with France and Morocco. It should also resolve a presidential succession that is paralysing institutions.

Also available in العربية, Français
Op-Ed / Africa

Comment sauver le Sahel

Originally published in Slate Afrique