On Wednesday, February 19, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared Saturday, February 22, a national holiday called the National Day of Fraternity and Cohesion between the People and their Army for Democracy. The decree comes amid the one-year anniversary of the "Hirak" protest movement that called for considerable change to the political system in Algeria. The presidential statement stated that the day should be marked, 'through demonstrations and activities which strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and national cohesion and establish a spirit of solidarity between the people and their army for democracy.' It is possible that these events are intended to overshadow government opposition.
Separately, opposition activists have called on supporters nationwide to gather in Algiers on Friday, February 21, and Saturday, February 22, to commemorate the first mass nationwide opposition protests on February 22, 2019. While activists have not immediately announced exact meeting times or locations, protesters are likely to gather at the Grande Poste.
The US Embassy in Algiers issued a demonstration alert indicating that protests are possible from Thursday, February 20, through Saturday, February 22. The alert also indicates that a heavy police presence is expected at all protests.
A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected throughout the capital. Events and protests are likely across Algeria throughout this period.
Protests to denounce the current political system have continued despite the election of President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on December 12, 2019. Demonstrators are still calling for civil and popular sovereignty and have rejected the recent presidential electoral process. The protest movement has been officially ongoing since February 23, 2019.
Individuals in Algeria are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and anticipate a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to business and transportation around protest sites.
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