Hundreds of people demonstrated in the Algerian city of Kherrata on Tuesday to express their support for the Hirak protest movement, which ousted Algeria’s former president in 2019 before the COVID crisis. 19 forced to leave the streets last year.

The protesters chanted: “A civil state, not a military state” and “The gang must go” while waving Algerian flags.

Tuesday’s protest was held to mark the second anniversary of the start of the protests in 2019, which had started in Kherrata, east of Algiers, before spreading across the country.

The Hirak movement demanded the complete removal of the entrenched Algerian political elite in power and continued to mobilize tens of thousands of protesters every week even after Abdelaziz Buteflika left the presidency.

His successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboube, elected in December 2019 in a vote that Hirak’s supporters called a sham, has publicly praised the movement while trying to outrun it through limited concessions including certain adjustments to the Constitution.

The weekly demonstrations stopped a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic imposed a lockdown on the country.

Although the protest movement does not have clear leadership, its supporters have repeatedly debated online how to rekindle its presence on the streets so that it is an active force for change.

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