Protesters gather in Algiers as Bouteflika clings to power

President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika, facing the biggest crisis of his 20-year-old rule, has failed to placate Algerians by reversing a decision to seek a fifth term.

FILE: Algerian students demonstrate in the centre of the capital Algiers on 12 March 2019. Picture: AFP

ALGIERS - Thousands of protesters gathered in central Algiers on Friday, piling pressure on President Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to resign days after the country’s powerful military called for his removal.

The army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, on Tuesday asked the constitutional council to rule whether the ailing 82-year-old president is fit for office.

Bouteflika, facing the biggest crisis of his 20-year-old rule, has failed to placate Algerians by reversing a decision to seek a fifth term.

“Streets pressure will continue until the system goes,” said student Mohamed Djemai, 25.

Protesters have ambitious demands. They want to overthrow an entire political system and replace it with a new generation of leaders capable of modernising the oil-dependent state and giving hope to a population impatient for a better life.