1657018628 In Algeria a 60th anniversary between appeasement and the political

In Algeria, a 60th anniversary between appeasement and the political status quo

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Student parade in Algiers, July 2, 1962. Student parade in Algiers, July 2, 1962. AFP

The largest military parade since independence, the largest housing distribution ever organized in the country, the issuance of a new 200 dinars coin… and gestures towards the prisoners of the Hirak protest movement. The Algerian authorities have decided to honor the spirits on July 5, 2022 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

The people of Algiers have been feeling the effects of preparations for the big day for several days due to the closure of the capital’s northern bypass. If some on social networks express their anger at the inconvenience caused by this closure, many proudly comment on the videos of the rehearsals that take place in the presence of the public.

While the 50th anniversary of independence took place in an atmosphere of relative routine under the presidency of an already ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the Algerian government intends to mark this new anniversary with pomp under Abdelmadjid Tebboune, with the slogan “A glorious history and a new era”. Several foreign heads of state, including Tunisian President Kais Saied and Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas, were scheduled to attend the commemorations.

The army at the top

The army, whose informal political clout has been challenged by Hirak participants calling for a “civilian and non-military state” during weekly demonstrations from 2019 to 2021, is front and center. The November 2020 revision of the constitution increased the weight of the military institution and entrusted it with the de jure task of “defending the vital and strategic interests of the country”.

Army chief of staff Saïd Chengriha was promoted to the rank of army general by the head of state during a handover ceremony on Monday. The large military parade planned for Tuesday is a message to the outside world, especially to Morocco. Tensions with Rabat, already running high on the Western Sahara issue, were exacerbated by the case of spying on thousands of Algerian cellphones via the Pegasus program and statements by Morocco’s UN official on Kabylia’s independence. Israel’s entry into the Maghreb after diplomatic normalization with Rabat is seen by Algiers as a serious threat.

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