Young people make up more than half of Algeria’s population and, according to a Unesco report, 72 per cent of people under 30 in Algeria are unemployed. Pivotal moments in Algerian history, such as the "Black October" revolt of 1988, have had angry youth at their core. Black October was harshly suppressed - more than 500 people were killed in five days - and was followed by a "black decade" of violence and unrest.
Thirty years on, the effects of that decade are still present. In a traumatised country, high unemployment leads to boredom and frustration in everyday life and many young people feel disconnected from the state and its institutions. Football, for many young men, becomes both an identity and a means of escape, with quasi-political groups of fans known as "ultras" playing a large and sometimes violent role in protests. In neglected working-class neighbourhoods such as Bab el-Oued in Algiers, young people often seek refuge in diki - private places that are "bubbles of freedom" away from the gaze of society and from conservative social values.
But the sense of community and solidarity is often not enough to erase the trials of poor living conditions. In February 2019, thousands of young people from working-class neighbourhoods again took to the streets in what became a nationwide challenge to the reign of long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
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