Algerians Protest Against Bouteflika, Demand His Resgination

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Thousands have gathered in Algeria’s capital to demand the immediate resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, despite him dropping his bid for a fifth term.

Friday’s protest has been described as the biggest in memory, with people of all ages packing out the capital’s boulevards.

Police have fired tear gas at protesters near the president’s office.

On Monday, the president postponed the planned 18 April presidential vote.

Protesters, however, accuse the 82-year-old leader of illegally extending his term.

Students have been leading the massive anti-Bouteflika protests which have entered a fifth week. Our reporter says that the latest demonstrations included many families in what has generally been a peaceful and good-natured atmosphere.

The ailing octogenarian rarely appears in public and has not given a public address since having a stroke in 2013. He returned to the country earlier this week after being admitted in hospital in Switzerland.

Half of Algeria’s population is under the age of 30 and youth unemployment has spurred anger against the government.

“I want a better future,” 10-year-old Mohamed Kemime told Reuters news agency, draped in Algeria’s national flag.

The appointment of new Prime Minister Noueddine Bedoui and plans to form an inclusive government have failed to assuage the protesters.

They have dismissed Mr Bedoui’s plan to form a technocratic government that would include young Algerians.

President Bouteflika’s announcement on Monday that he was dropping his plan to run in elections that would extend his 20-year rule, was initially greeted by celebration but activists now see it as a ploy for the National Liberation Front to hold on to power.

BBC

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