National Day of Fraternity and Cohesion takes place annually on February 22 in the Republic of Algeria. It marks the anniversary of the protests that united the country against an unjust leader and his party’s attempt at another selfish power grab. On February 22, 2019, the entire country rose in unison to hold nationwide protests. Shops were shuttered and schools closed as the entire nation strived to stop President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from angling for a fifth term. Ultimately, the protestors were victorious, and Bouteflika was removed from power. Since 2020, the day has been celebrated throughout the country to commemorate the victory of democracy and the public will.
History of Day of Fraternity and Cohesion
National Day of Fraternity and Cohesion is a public holiday that is celebrated with immense joy and patriotism by the people of Algeria. People are reminded of the spring of 2019 that changed the course of the country. Ailed with the 20-year rule of the former president, young Algerians led the protest and held demonstrations for nearly two months. Protests erupted from every corner of the country. The streets were filled with the raging chant of “It’s a republic, not a kingdom!” Accused of “stealing the country,” the president’s audacious decision to run for a fifth term was met with instant rejection.
The protests happened in cohesion. Elders would conclude Friday evening prayers and hold demonstrations on the streets, singing songs of Algerian glory. Parents kept their children at home as a method of protest. The youth of the country rejected the gerontocracy, the ruling party, and the unfit president. Described as a “movement of the young and of Algerian citizens,” the protests continued until the president conceded in the early days of April.
For the first time in Algeria’s history as an independent country, the might of the republic came into a tussle with the power grabs of the government, and the people won. The full name of the celebration is “The National Day of Fraternity and Cohesion between the People and their Army for Democracy,” as it represents the powerful, eventual support of the army to help the people mobilize the movement in the interests of the nation.
Day of Fraternity and Cohesion timeline
Algeria’s assembly passes a constitutional amendment to dissolve the term limits of the presidency, paving the way for President Bouteflika to run for a third term.
Nationwide protests spark as soon as President Bouteflika announces his candidacy for a historic fifth term.
The military intervenes and forces the resignation of President Bouteflika, ending the weeks-long protests.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who was elected under a new government in December 2019, declares February 22 as the National Day of Fraternity and Cohesion.
Day of Fraternity and Cohesion FAQs
What type of democracy does Algeria practice?
Algeria is considered to be a ’controlled democracy,’ in which the state and the military, in partnership with a select group of unelected civilians, make decisions about the course of the country.
When is Algeria’s Independence Day?
Algeria celebrates its independence from France on July 5 of every year.
Can women freely vote in Algeria?
Algeria has universal suffrage after the age of 18. Both men and women can vote in the democratic elections and can run for office.
How to Observe Day of Fraternity and Cohesion
Honor the struggle
This public holiday commemorates the anniversary of the beginning of nationwide demonstrations that resulted in the removal of President Bouteflika from office after nearly 20 years. Share your love and support for the Algerians on social media and seek inspiration from their struggles and triumphs.
Raise your voice against corruption
One of the main reasons behind the protests was to highlight the rampant corruption, nepotism, and stagnancy in government actions in Algeria. Algerians, young and old, walk with the pride of bringing down a corrupt man through the means of powerful protests. On February 22, dedicate your time to voice your opposition against corruption happening in your communities and become the change you wish to see in the world.
Participate in the democratic process
Take the day to become an active member of your country’s democratic process. Register to vote, participate in community service, join a grassroots organization, and keep tabs on local and/or national government processes. Algeria showed the world that protests work and make a difference, and we must participate in our republic — lest we want to witness it crumble.
5 Shocking Facts About Algeria You May Not Know
It’s a big country
Algeria is the 10th largest country in the world.
The sandy lands
Only 12% of the country’s land can be inhabited, as the rest is covered by the Great Sahara desert.
The women-friendly republic
Women have it so much better in Algeria than in any other Islamic-majority nation, making up more than 60% of the student population.
The French influence
From the court system to common etiquette in hospitality, the culture in Algeria takes heavily from France.
A country for the young
As of 2020, almost 30% of Algerians are under the age of 15.
Why Day of Fraternity and Cohesion is Important
It’s a triumph of the public will
Algeria’s biggest protests in nearly 30 years were successful, precisely because the assertion of the public’s rightful demands outweighed the corruption of the few. This is the heroic tale that validates the liberal principles of democracy and is worthy of a yearly celebration.
It marks a new chapter in Algeria’s history
February 22, 2019, marks a new era of politics, governance, and constitutional reform in the country. You can take advantage of this public holiday to pause and celebrate this pivotal moment of unity and progress.
It is not common for an Islamic republic to give in to civil protests and change the gears of the government. Being the biggest country in Africa adds more to this momentous victory. It is the highest hope that the lessons of the power of the people and the spirit of democracy will be championed by other nations of Africa as well. May we end the decade with more people on the side of democracy than against it.
Day of Fraternity and Cohesion dates