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20 Feb, 2020 07:43

Algerian president honors ‘smile revolution’ protest on 1st anniversary

Algerian president honors ‘smile revolution’ protest on 1st anniversary

Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has declared February 22 a special holiday to honor the peaceful “smile revolution” protest movement that ousted the country’s longtime leader last year.

Tebboune made the announcement Wednesday, ahead of what are expected to be big protests this week to mark the Hirak movement’s first anniversary. Earlier this week, the communications minister called for February 22 to be declared “a national holiday of the blessed Hirak,” the Arabic name for the uprising.

Many Algerians say the authorities are ignoring their calls for deeper political change. Tebboune is seen as a product of Algeria’s old power structure, which remained largely in place after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his entourage were pushed out last year.

Protesters are planning to hold their 53rd straight week of marches on Friday for what is now called the “February 22 Revolution,” marking the first day of major nationwide protests against Boutflika’s rule.