The Derby of Bouteflika

In the previous two weekends, Algeria has been dealing with the ongoing & growing protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth presidential term. Thousands of people have again demonstrated in Algeria's main cities demanding that Bouteflika to step down.

In Algiers, the capital, students protested demanding that the 82-year-old, who is sick for years, will drop his intention plans to run in next month's election.

Mass demonstrations started on 22 February against Bouteflika's aim to extend his 20-year rule furthermore. In the past weekend, more than 200 injuries were listed in clashes between protesters and the police. 

As always in Algeria, the football community can’t remain indifferent to politics and social events at such scale. 

During multiple matches in the recent match day, throughout Algeria’s top two divisions, football fans sang against Bouteflika’s bid, and against the ‘Pouvoir’, the group of ex-military notable & current notable militants, who allegedly are behind the old leader’s pursue of the presidential spot. 

Most prominent were USMA Algiers’ fans in their match against Paradou, in what was a little derby of the Algerian capital, which their exceptional singing and chants were present and erupted comments in social media. Paradou eventually won 2-1,  but then Bouteflika released an announcement that he will run for another election, only to make few changes in the amendment and to hand over the reign.

The protests continued throughout the whole week and got into their peak in the past weekend. This Monday, Bouteflika declared that "There will be no fifth term”. This statement was the signal for the victory of the people. The Algerians who washed the streets and the stadiums protesting for the future of their country have got what they fought for.

Now everything is ready for the boiling derby of Algiers, Mouloudia against USMA, on Thursday, March 14th.

Although USMA are leading the table quite comfortably with a five points gap from Kabliye and Mouloudia are far behind, you can trust both sets of fans to literally light up the July 5th 1962 Stadium and create a hectic atmosphere.