In Algeria, a movement reluctant to any form of "structuring"

Three weeks after its birth, the mobilization of Algerians is directed as much against the regime as against traditional political and trade union organizations.

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Demonstration in the center of Algiers, March 15, 2019. Zohra Bensemra / REUTERS

They are gathered around a small round metal table, on the terrace of a cafe in Algiers, Thursday, March 7th. In a plastic bag, several meters of green fabric. " We're going, we'll do the armbands," says a young woman. The idea of ​​this group of "green armbands" was born the week before, after the March 1st demonstration. Near the Hotel Saint-Georges, demonstrators face the police and follow a huge crowd movement. " We had the impression that we were going to suffocate. It was believed that people were dead, " says Adila, 34.

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That day, a man died in the outbreak after a cardiac arrest. Around the metal table, Adila, some of her friends, but also other young people who got wind of the initiative via social networks, discuss the text they will publish on the Internet " so that everyone can participate and share the right reflexes " : pick up trash, have compresses and disinfectant to help potential wounded and vinegar when using tear gas, and avoid jostling.

A horizontal dimension

The next day, Friday, March 8, the crowd is even more massive than the previous week. In the Sacré-Coeur district, the Galant Park is a sensitive area. Here, every Friday, the police block the protesters to go up to the district of El Mouradia where the presidency is. That day, after clashes in the evening, the museum was degraded, a school was also affected. On the steps of the park, residents gathered. " We do not want our neighborhood to be broken. If you want to go break, go break at home , " says a man, quarantine.

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A neighborhood committee was recreated on this occasion: "We had to do something," says a young man in black tracksuit. It was decided to clear the streets the day before the demonstration of March 15, " so that people can use stones that drag or bins to throw on someone . " The inhabitants also want to " organize themselves in groups". "If we see groups of young foreigners in the neighborhood at night, we must make them leave," says a resident. A neighbor is dubious: " I wonder if it will not create more violence. "