News Brief
Photo by Billal Bensalem/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Algeria has halted anti-government protests amid coronavirus outbreak.

Algeria Calls Off Anti-Government Protests Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

For the first time in over a year, protesters in Algeria have called off weekly demonstrations against former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's government amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The BBC reports that protest organisers in Algeria have called off weekly anti-government demonstrations amid the growing coronavirus outbreak.

This will mark the first time in over a year that Algerians will not take to the streets in mass protest against former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's government.


Protests in Algeria began last year in February shortly after then President Bouteflika announced that he would be running for a fifth term in office.

After weeks of unceasing protests from Algerians, the 82-year old was forced to resign in April saying, "There will be no fifth term," and adding that, "There was never any question of it for me. Given my state of health and age, my last duty towards the Algerian people was always contributing to the foundation of a new Republic."

However, Algerians continued to protest even after Bouteflika's resignation, demanding that his entire government step down as well. Despite former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune having succeeded Bouteflika, following his victory in the 2019 December elections, Algerians still regard his office as being "illegitimate", according to France24.

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to increase, protest organisers have since called on Algerians to remain indoors. This past Friday, protesters heeded the precautionary measures and as a result, city streets were left empty.

So far, Algeria has reported over 90 cases of coronavirus with at least 10 confirmed deaths while the total number of confirmed cases on the African continent now stands at a little over 900.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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