Emmanuel Macron’s mud bath in Algiers on December 6, 2017. – MARIN / AFP ludovic
Emmanuel Macron went this Wednesday to Algiers for a “visit of work and friendship”.
He took the opportunity to meet the inhabitants of the capital, during a walk under surveillance.
From our special correspondent in Algiers (Algeria),
The Emir Abdelkader Square shows “the whole history of Algeria”, according to Benjamin Stora. The historian is one of the personalities that Emmanuel Macron took to Algiers this Wednesday. This square, decorated with a statue of the Algerian hero who replaced in 1968 that of the French Marshal Bugeaud, adjoined by the Milk Bar, target of an attack of the FLN in 1956, is the point of arrival of the “strolling” ( this is the official term) of the Head of State.
He may be in a hurry, he who spends only a dozen hours in Algiers, Emmanuel Macron took the time to offer a bath of crowds by crossing the street Larbi Ben M’hidi about 200 meters, under the high surveillance of the Algerian authorities.
A “wandering” under high surveillance
“We never drove so well in Algiers! It only took a few minutes for the presidential motorcade to travel from the Martyrs Memorial to the city center, several streets of which were cordoned off for the occasion. Many Algerian police officers, in uniform, and others in civilian clothes, ensure that onlookers stay behind barriers placed along sidewalks.
In the middle of the road, Emmanuel Macron, surrounded by a compact block mixing bodyguards, police, journalists, ministers, winds. He goes to the right, then to the left, in contact with the Algerians who call him behind the barriers. It grows, it screams. “We choke! Says a man. “You just have to loosen up,” answers the president. At his side, in the absence of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika , the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Mayor of Algiers and the President of the Council of the Nation.
Scrambled telephone networks
The decor was cut until late at night from Tuesday to Wednesday: a white paint on the trunks of the trees, freshly carved and a little cement to cover the cracks of the facades. Enthusiastic enthusiastic but calm wait for the French president. Men and women sit on the terrace and wait patiently. On the balcony, smartphone at arm’s length, some film the scene, others throw confetti. Women in haik , on rhinestone heel, follow the president punctuating his march of youyous.
>> To read also: Why are Internet users so sensitive about the France-Africa relations? The telephone networks are scrambled during this walk, a common practice in Algeria where the regime, febrile, scrutinizes social networks.
The exchanges between Emmanuel Macron and the inhabitants are direct, brief, on the colonization in particular:
– A young man: “France must assume its colonial past vis-à-vis Algeria”
– Emmanuel Macron: “but you know, it’s been a long time since she took it”. (…) “we have this story between us, but I am not a prisoner. How old are you ? ”
– ” 26 years “.
– “But you never knew colonization! What are you confusing me with that! ”
But more people are asking for “more visas for Algerians”. “Our kids can not stay here! A man gets carried away. ” The youth of Algeria must stay to develop their country “, Replies the French leader.
Uncertainty weighing on political power
The day before, Lila, 30, assured us that her generation “does not care about colonization. What we want is work, change, and here a lot of things are blocked for us. ” “There is uncertainty that weighs on the political power, we can not project,” added a young entrepreneur.
A father who called Emmanuel Macron on “the Algerian elites” tells us: “he did not answer me, but I was happy to talk to him, it is good that a president comes to see us”. Overlooking Emir Abdelkader’s place, a huge portrait of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, with a dove, smiles at him.
A poster representing Algerian President Bouteflika in Algiers on December 6, 2017. – L. Cometti / 20 Minutes