20°C / 22°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 7°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 6°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 8°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 13°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 10°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 8°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 9°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 22°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 5°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 6°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 4°C
  • Fri
  • 21°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 24°C
  • 16°C
  • Mon
  • 23°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 23°C
  • 17°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 15°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 14°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 13°C
  • Sun
  • 28°C
  • 19°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 11°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 11°C
  • Sun
  • 25°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 23°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 10°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 8°C
  • Sun
  • 24°C
  • 14°C
  • Mon
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 16°C
  • 12°C
  • Wed
  • 20°C
  • 11°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 12°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 22°C
  • 8°C
  • Tue
  • 22°C
  • 8°C
  • Wed
  • 22°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 22°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 23°C
  • 8°C
  • Sun
  • 20°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 7°C
  • Wed
  • 19°C
  • 5°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 4°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Mon
  • 21°C
  • 7°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Wed
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 29°C
  • 17°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 12°C
  • Tue
  • 14°C
  • 11°C
  • Wed
  • 18°C
  • 8°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 13°C
  • Fri
  • 18°C
  • 11°C

Algerians demand more concessions in 9th week of mass protests

Algerians first hit the streets in large numbers on 22 February after the octogenarian leader’s announcement that he would stand for a fifth term in presidential elections.

FILE: Algerian protesters demonstrate against their ailing president's bid for a fifth term in power, in Algiers on 8 March 2019.  Picture: AFP.

ALGIERS - Huge crowds of protesters filled central Algiers for a ninth weekly mass rally on Friday, galvanised by the departure of long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika but vowing to keep up their demands for sweeping reforms.

Algerians first hit the streets in large numbers on 22 February after the octogenarian leader’s announcement that he would stand for a fifth term in presidential elections that had been scheduled for Thursday.

But his departure early this month spurred demonstrators to seek further changes, notably the resignation of three senior Bouteflika allies.

Activists chalked up a second victory on Tuesday as one of the three, constitutional council chief Tayeb Belaiz, followed Bouteflika to the exit.

But Friday’s crowds were pushing for still more as they clogged streets for several kilometres in the heart of the capital.

Demonstrators outside the iconic main post office building chanted “The people want them all to leave!” and “Enough of this system!”

“Just because Belaiz has resigned that doesn’t mean it’s over,” student Lyes Adimi, 24, told AFP.

“What has the constitutional council ever done apart from validating the fraud of the system it belongs to?”

State media and local journalists reported major demonstrations across the country, including in another key cities Oran, Constantine and Annaba.

Police forces, accused in past weeks of trying to quell the protest movement amid teargas-soaked clashes with demonstrators, were keeping a low-profile Friday.

FURTHER RESIGNATIONS DEMANDED

Protesters are demanding the resignation of the two remaining members of a group dubbed the “3B” - interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui - saying regime stalwarts should be entirely excluded from any political transition.

Cries of “Bensalah resign” reverberated in Algiers Friday as the crowds looked to pressure the placeholder president.

Belaiz’s replacement, a little-known senior judge and former prosecutor Kamel Feniche, is also seen as a regime loyalist.

Despite Bensalah calling a presidential election on 4 July, Algerian demonstrations are demanding a broader overhaul of the political system.

Ailing Bouteflika saw his two-decade grip on power brought to an end after the army heeded the calls from the streets and pushed for his impeachment.

Now the military has become the key player in determining how the next steps unfold.

The army “is convinced that the crisis can be managed through appeasement”, said Geneva-based political scientist Hasni Abidi.

He said its strategy was one of “gradually minimising the scope of concessions”.

But army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah hinted this week that the military may soften its position, saying: “All options remain open... in order to find a solution to the crisis as soon as possible.”

He also vowed that the Algerian army would not turn its weapons on its people and would make sure that “no drop of Algerian blood is spilled”.

The presidency announced that Bensalah had started meetings with “national figures” on consultations about the future, but they appear to fall far short of the demands of demonstrators.

Marginalised opposition parties - which have been sidelined by the mainly grassroots protest movement - have been invited for talks on Monday.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus