In fact, there is increasingly little doubt that football, a historic nucleus of protest in Algeria, is signaling that popular discontent could again spill into the
In fact, there is increasingly little doubt that football, a historic nucleus of protest in Algeria, is signaling that popular discontent could again spill into the streets of Algiers and other major cities. Two years ago, protesters inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia, ultimately pulled back from the brink despite the toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Now, in circumstances similar to Saudi Arabia, protests are mounting amid uncertainty about the future as Algeria’s aging leadership struggles with a series of natural deaths and the effects of health problems among its remaining key members.
Football fans earlier this month demonstrated their disdain for the fate of 76-year old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who is recovering from a stroke in a Paris hospital by cheering their team for days in the streets of Algiers in advance of an upcoming championship. Similarly, fans interrupted a moment of silence in a stadium to commemorate the death of a former leader by chanting “Bouteflika is next.”
Mr. Bouteflika’s illness follows the death in the past year of two former presidents, Ahmed Ben Bella and Chadli Benjedid and Ali Kafi, who served as a transition leader in the early 1990s while the military fo