Algerians hold biggest anti-Bouteflika protests

  • Friday 15, March 2019 07:18 PM
  • Algerians hold biggest anti-Bouteflika protests
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: Hundreds of thousands of people crammed into central Algiers on Friday in the biggest protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 20-year rule since unrest began last month.
Bouteflika on Monday reversed a decision to stand for another term after mass protests against him, but stopped short of relinquishing office and says he will stay on until a new constitution is adopted.

Algerians quickly rejected his offer and demanded that the 82-year-old president hand over power to a young generation of leaders who can create jobs and stamp out corruption. 

Protests have peaked on Fridays. They are also taking place in other cities. 

Bouteflika has been losing allies in recent days since returning from medical treatment in Switzerland.

A senior FLN figure said in an interview on Thursday night the long-ruling president was "history now".

The remarks by Hocine Kheldoun to Ennahar television were another setback Bouteflika, who hoped to pacify Algerians by promising to take steps to change a political landscape that has been dominated by ruling elite for decades.

Kheldoun, a former ruling party spokesman, became one of the most senior FLN officials to break with Bouteflika publicly, saying the party had to look forward and support the aims of demonstrators.

Some parents had brought children: "I want a better future," said Mohamed Kemime, 10, draped in a national flag.

One of Algeria's most influential clerics appealed for patience.

Bouteflika has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013. Protesters say he is no longer in a fit state to rule.

The new prime minister, Noureddine Bedoui, said on Thursday he would form a temporary government of technocrats and others to work towards political change, and he urged the opposition to join in a dialogue.