Algerians Hold Massive Demonstration Demanding that President Bouteflika Steps Down

Tens of thousands of Algerians gather during Friday's protest. (Photo: AP)

Tens of thousands of Algerians gathered on Friday afternoon for a “March of 20 Million” in the country, calling for ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82, who declared his candidacy for a fifth term, to step down.

Amid the ululations, old people with their grandchildren, young people, men and women came out to protest.

Several Algerian citizens and political parties have for sometime been against the move by Bouteflika to extend his 20-year reign in a fifth mandate.

The wheelchair-bound president, who suffered a stroke in 2013, is being treated for an undisclosed ailment in a Geneva hospital. He has not made a public speech in a very long time.

Although a number of protesters said that security forces were out in the capital, the demonstration was a peaceful exercise of their civic rights.

A number of lawmakers from the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) party resigned in protest and joined the protesters, according to local television media.

Some stalwart Bouteflika supporters and party members have come out to support the protesters, showing the discontent within his government.

As Algerians held flags and flooded into the squares around the capital, women also came out in force, a dual protest on International Women’s Day, calling for the “draconian” Family Law to be abolished.

This is just the latest march by Algerians against the current regime, and protesters say that Bouteflika needs to stand down and not run in the upcoming April 18 elections.

Although Bouteflika has promised to bring back restrictions on the number of terms a President can serve, Algerians are going ahead with their protests.

Meanwhile, reports from Algeria indicate that over 200 protestors were arrested during yesterday’s protests by the Anti Riot Police and other security agencies in Algeria.

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