In pictures: Protesters around the region ring in the new year defiant and hopeful
In April, long-term Algerian autocrat Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation after a month and a half of protests against his 20 years in power. Since then, Algerians have continued to take to the streets on a regular basis to call for the full dismantling of the country’s military-backed power structure.
Elections in December saw Abdelmajid Tebboune become the country’s new head of state amidst widespread voter abstention in polls seen as upholding the political status quo.
Despite the setbacks, Algerian students demonstrated on Tuesday for the 45th week in a row, in a sign that popular mobilisation will continue into 2020. (MEE/Mohamed Kaouche)
In April 2019, mere days after Bouteflika’s downfall in Algeria, President Omar al-Bashir was toppled after some five months of protests, marking an end to his 30-year rule.
“It is a big victory for the Sudanese people that they are entering 2020 without political Islam and without Bashir,” Salma Hassan, a 25-year-old resident of Khartoum, told MEE on New Year’s Eve.
In the Sudanese capital Khartoum, revellers on Tuesday night chanted slogans of the uprising: “Justice, freedom and Peace” and “Revolution is the option of the nation”.
“We are proud that our generation has made this possible,” said Murtada Hashim, 31. “Today we also remember the martyrs of the revolution and we say that we can forgive, but we will never forget.”
This year’s festivities marked the first time Sudanese could celebrate the new year freely in the streets, after the scrapping of restrictive Bashir-era laws regulating public order.
“We will keep going forward into democracy and we will never go back to a dictatorship” fellow demonstrator Nadir Abdul Latif said. (MEE/Mohammed Amin)
Since 1 October, Iraqis across the country have been demonstrating against the government apparatus, corruption, sectarianism and unemployment. The unrest has pushed Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to resign, but protesters demand in-depth change as more than 450 people have been killed and around 25,000 injured since the beginning of the movement.
"As a protester and Iraqi local, I wish peace and security to Iraq and wish to get rid of all the political class,” 23-year-old Murtadha Hamoudi told MEE. "[I want] a government that gives equal rights to all Iraqis, a government without corruption and which heeds its people not outsiders.” (AFP)
Protesters in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square notably marked the new year, by erecting a “wishes wall” upon which participants could write down their hopes for the future.
“I wish all the world to live in peace, 2019 was personally a turning point to a wider vision for life," Mustafa Al-Ani, 47, told MEE. “The year of 2019 was the year that illuminated generations to triumph over injustice.” (MEE/Azhar Al-Rubaie)
Lebanon, like Iraq, has been living its “October Revolution” for three months, similarly calling for drastic political changes amid a dire economic climate.
Thousands gathered in downtown Beirut on Tuesday evening to listen to live music and break bread with fellow demonstrators.
"It's been inspiring to see such a broad cross-section of society represented in these two months since the start of the revolution,” Dana, a protester, told MEE. “We enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of the revolution so far and prepare for a difficult year ahead.
“It leaves me with more hope, especially seeing the sense of collective responsibility which contributed to the success of the evening. We all have a stake in seeing the revolution succeed." (MEE/Lynn Chaya)