Hirak: A roundtable on the Algerian protests

Hirak: A roundtable on the Algerian protests

Monday, 10 June 2019 - 1:00pm
Board Room, Kirdar Building, Middle East Centre, St Antony's College
Michael Willis (St Antony’s College)
James McDougall (Trinity College)
Hicham Yezza (Ceasefire Magazine) 
Latefa Guemar (University of East London) 

About the seminar:

Since late February, millions of Algerians have been taking to the streets of towns and cities across the country in massive, peaceful, weekly demonstrations. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, whose projected candidacy for a fifth term of office sparked the protests, has resigned. Two former Prime Ministers have been referred to the Supreme Court on corruption charges, several of the country’s most prominent businessmen close to Bouteflika’s circle have been arrested, and the last two chiefs of the internal security services are in jail. New presidential elections that were to be managed by a caretaker government have been cancelled in the face of popular pressure. This round table will be an opportunity to discuss these extraordinary, ongoing events, their origins and possible outcomes.

The event is free and open to all!

About the speakers:

Michael Willis, Fellow of the Middle East Centre and author of The Islamist challenge in Algeria: A Political History.

James McDougall,
Professor of modern and contemporary history and author of A History of Algeria (2017)

Foreign Affairs  The Fall of Abdelaziz Bouteflika
BBC News         How Algeria's army sacrificed a president to keep power

Latefa Guemar has significant experience researching Algeria, gender, diaspora studies and refugee studies. She has collaborated extensively on publications and research over the last year on Algeria, civil society, the Hirak mobilisation and more. She obtained her PHD from University of East London and has published on that topic of the Feminization of Forced Migration - case studies from Algeria and the Black Decade. She has a significant network in London with the Algerian diaspora and across Algeria, in Jijel where she was born, in Oran where she grew up and in Algiers where she studied.

My  presentation builds on one year of previous research into civil society in Algeria, particularly trough online discourse analysis ( mainly Facebook and Youtube), and my  participation to Hirak  in Oran, Algiers and London. I will explore how Algerians have taken on such a powerful regime and prevented violence, despite deep frustrations and a history of violent mobilisation for political change. I will focus principally on young people, students and young women in particular who - supported by their families – have been the main actors of the Hirak.

Hicham Yezza is an Algerian writer and editor based in the UK. He's a regular commentator on politics, the media and civil liberties, and is a contributor to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, the Guardian, amongst others. He's a columnist on North Africa and the Middle East for OpenDemocracy, and is the Editor-in-Chief of Ceasefire, a UK-based cultural and political magazine. 

Hicham will reflect on the echoes and lessons of recent Algerian history, notably the aborted democratic opening of 1988-1992, as well as the critical role of a decade of political and social dissent, in creating the necessary conditions for the present moment. Will a new generation successfully navigate the perennial faultlines of identity, history and citizenship?