Algerians gather in huge protest against Bouteflika

Algeria’s Bouteflika warns of ‘chaos’ ahead of protests against him

Algeria’s Bouteflika warns of ‘chaos’ ahead of protests against him

Algeria's education ministry has ordered an early start to university holidays amid huge protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Spring break will be brought forward by 10 days, starting on Sunday instead of 20 March.

Tens of thousands protested across Algeria on Friday in the biggest rallies yet against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, despite the defiant leader's warning of the risk of "chaos".

It is unclear if the Geneva court will consider the petition.

Ditisheim says it is "obvious that the Algerian president is now incapable of judgment, in a very precarious state of health, and that all his actions, including his application to run for a fifth term and his press releases, are not carried out by himself but by his political and family entourage who manipulate him".

If so, in theory at least, "the Swiss judge should disregard the political backdrop. and determine if this person needs assistance".

The president, who is confined to a wheelchair, has rarely been seen in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, prompting critics to question whether he is being used as a puppet candidate by a faction of civilian and military figures.

Algeria’s Bouteflika warns of ‘chaos’ ahead of protests against him

He has been in Switzerland for almost two weeks receiving what his office has called routine medical checkups.

A spokesman for the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), where Mr Bouteflika is staying, said it had received 1,500 phone calls on Tuesday about the president after his location was revealed by French television programme Quotidien, according to French-language media reports.

Still, in this case the judge may wish to mull it over a bit longer and will probably request an expert medical opinion before ruling on the matter, Jeandin said. He has promised to limit his term and "change the system" if he wins on April 18, but that has not mollified protesters exhausted of corruption, the elderly elite and unemployment.

On Friday, the privately owned Arabic-language news website, El Khabar, quoted the public transport body for Algiers as saying that all bus, tram, train and metro services had been suspended ahead of the protests.

President Bouteflika's government is run by members of the National Liberation Front party or FLN.

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