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On Saturday, one of the world’s most resilient nonviolent protest movements hits a one-year milestone. A year ago, nationwide protests emerged against then-Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after his nomination for a fifth term sparked mass outrage from citizens frustrated with the country’s growing corruption, sluggish economy and lack of freedom.
Over the past year, the leaderless protest movement (known as the Hirak) succeeded in toppling Bouteflika and the imprisonment of major figures from his regime, including several prime ministers. Peaceful mass protests have continued across the country every week even in the face of provocation and repression from the regime.
The Hirak is entering its second year with a new president, a new prime minister, a new parliamentary speaker, a new cabinet and a new army chief of staff. But Algeria’s political system remains fundamentally unchanged. Here’s what you need to know.