Algeria protests continue with rejection of interim government

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People take part in a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite, as the country prepare for presidential election in Algiers, Algeria April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
People take part in a protest seeking the departure of the ruling elite, as the country prepare for presidential election in Algiers, Algeria April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

Protests have continued in Algeria’s capital Algiers, under the new interim government, as thousands took to the streets demanding the removal of the country’s political elite.  

Protestors were met by a notably large police deployment, lining boulevards and checking all vehicles entering the city.

However, rows of riot police then reportedly pulled back from the area, lowering their face shields and truncheons, in an apparent attempt to quell any escalation of violence.

The crowd broke out in applause as police vans drove away, shouting “The police with the people!”

Algerians took to social media, posting images and videos of the ongoing protests.

Friday’s protest comes a week after Algeria’s longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down from power. However this did little to assuage protestors, who are calling for the departure of the interim government, who is associated with the current political status quo.

Public anger has also been directed towards military chief, Gen. Ahmed Gaid Salah, who was instrumental in Bouteflika’s departure but then threw his support behind the interim president, Abdelkader Bensalah, who is widely associated with the old regime.

Bensalah was named interim leader this week and announced elections for July 4.

“Bensalah, get out!” the protesters shouted, as a river of people adorned in green-white-red Algerian flags wove through the city.

Algeria’s protest movement, also known as the Smile Revolution, broke out in February after then-President Bouteflika announced his running for a fifth term in office.

They have been characterised as largely peaceful, driven by frustration with the current political system and the associated problems of corruption and unemployment.  

 

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