Citizens from both Morocco and Algeria took to social media to call for the borders between Morocco and Algeria to reopen.
Rabat – Moroccan and Algerian internet users have launched a social media campaign to demand the reopening of the Moroccan-Algerian border.
الحمد لله على نعم الله لم تعد هناك خلافات و نزاعات زرعها المستبدون الفاسدون بين الشعب المغربي و الجزائري
الكل اليوم في المغرب يفرح لحراك الجزائريين و منتخب محاربي الصحراء
اليوم الكل ينادي بفتح الحدود
اليوم الكل ينادي خاوة خاوة خاوة
— Faridkaddouri (@Faridkaddouri3) July 12, 2019
The move is not unprecedented, citizens from both countries have launched previous unsuccessful campaigns to reopen the border. The Morocco-Algeria border has been closed since 1994.
The new campaign emerged after a video showing Moroccans and Algerians celebrating together went viral on social media.
من المفروض ان تكون من بين ثمار الحراك الجزائري تحسين العلاقات مع المغرب. فتح الحدود و تطوير العلاقات الاقتصادية و السياسية اصبحت ضرورة ملحة في أفق تفعيل المغرب العربي. الصور الصادقة للمغاربة و الجزائريين على الحدود لتبادل التحايا و للأحتفال بتأهل المنتخب هي صور مؤثرة.
— DAKIR (@DAKIR9) July 12, 2019
The video shows many Moroccans expressing joy and pride over Algeria’s victory against the Ivory Coast in the semi finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) on July 11. The video emphasized the respect and love that Moroccan and Algerian citizens share for each other, despite political tensions.
Two Algerian citizens defied authorities and climbed the border fence to join the Moroccan supporters celebrating Algeria’s victory.
— mohmed aksasse (@MAksasse) July 12, 2019
Internet users also launched the #khawa_khawa (brothers_brothers) on social media, emphasizing that Morocco and Algeria have a shared history and a close relationship.. The campaign also reflects the fact that many Moroccans and Algerians have shared heritage; Atlas Lions’ captain Mehdi Benatia’s mother is Algerian, while Mahrez, the star of Algeria’s Desert Warriors, has a Moroccan grandmother.
Moroccan supporters could be seen jumping for joy in cafes all over the country when Algeria qualified for the final, after a deserved victory against Nigeria on Sunday, July 15.
Despite the close bonds between Moroccan and Algerian citizens, the two countries have been at political loggerheads for decades.
Algeria closed the border with Morocco in 1994 after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens. Rabat’s decision came following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech.
Tension between Morocco and Algeria dates back to 1963, when they fought the Sand War over the border near Figuig in eastern Morocco. The war ended a year later when the US, the African Union, and the Arab League mediated the conflict.
Algeria also financially supports the Polisario Front and its “independence” claims. Backing the Polisario Front is a provocative move, directly questioning Morocco’s territorial integrity.
Despite the decades-long conflict, Morocco extended its hand to break the stalemate. King Mohammed VI proposed a mechanism of dialogue and consultation to promote warmer relations between the two countries. Algeria, however, turned a deaf ear.