Algerian protesters have gathered in Trafalgar Square to protest the current political situation in Algeria for many weeks now and last Sunday was no exception. Despite the threat of rain from the grey clouds gathering ahead, the speaker held his head high and continued his speech. He bemoaned the lack of democracy in Algeria and the corruption in the government, which has led to many Algerians to leave for Europe: namely France, Spain, Germany and of course the UK, in search for jobs and a better life. But he is mainly upset at the chaos left behind by the now former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika became Algeria’s president in 1999, during a civil war and unrest caused by an Islamist electoral victory. He is widely credited with restoring peace to the country. In 2009, Bouteflika amended the constitution to allow him to run for a third term, which he promptly won. However, in 2013, he suffered a stroke and his ability to govern was called to question, as a result, his announcement that he would in fact run for a 5th term in office, was viewed as a step too far by many Algerians, who called for him to resign. Widespread protests began in Algeria, with an estimated 3 million people demonstrating in the capital Algiers as well as Oran, Constantine and Annaba. In a country where free speech is limited, the protests were unusual and received international attention. Protests also spread outside of the country in Paris, Marseille and Quebec, which all have large Algerian communities, as well as London.

Bouteflika eventually withdrew his candidature in March and later resigned as the country’s president. Though the fallout has ignited deep set anger at the country’s economic situation. High unemployment, poor living standards and a lack of democracy in the North African nation has caused protests to continue calling for an overhaul of the entire system and the end of the so-called “pouvoir” who are believed to control the nation through corruption and suppression of rivals.

It is exactly this subject that many of the protestors in Trafalgar Square are gathered for. A man holds up a sign pleading for no international involvement in Algeria’s affairs, fearing a situation similar to that of Yemen and Syria. There is yet to be any formal opposition to the current regime, but if there is one thing that has united Algerians across the globe, including those in London is the hope that a democratic and freer Algeria is possible.