Algerians March en Masse, Calling on Bouteflika to Step Down

Dozens Injured in Algeria’s Anti Bouteflika Protests

Dozens Injured in Algeria’s Anti Bouteflika Protests

A total of 183 people were injured during the protests across Algeria on Friday against Bouteflika's bid for election to a fifth term, APS said, citing the health ministry.

This is the country's biggest anti-government demonstrations, since the Arab Spring, eight years ago.

The protests were mostly peaceful but scuffles between police and protesters broke out late on Friday near the presidential place in the capital Algiers.

"Today, the Algerian people as a whole will say no to the official narrative, no to threats, no to repression, yes to popular sovereignty, yes to true citizenship for all".

Bouteflika, who has been in office for two decades and turns 82 on Sunday, has rarely been seen in public.

Reuters TV footage from later showed police in riot gear and protesters facing off on a street near the presidential palace swathed in tear gas.

Chanting "Bye, bye Bouteflika", "peaceful, peaceful" and some carrying roses, the crowd vented frustration at a plan by the 81-year-old leader to extend his 20-year rule in April elections.

French Press Agency (AFP) saw about a dozen people wounded after being hit by batons, tear gas grenades and stones thrown by police back at demonstrators who had intially hurled them at officers.

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Bouteflika, who has been ruling Algeria since 1999, officially announced his presidential bid on February 10.

On February 28 a dozen journalists are detained for several hours as they participate in a rally against alleged censorship of protest coverage.

Authorities said last week he would travel to Geneva for unspecified medical checks.

On March 1, tens of thousands protest in Algiers and across the country. Known for wearing a three-piece suit even in the north African nation's stifling heat, Bouteflika gained respect from many for his role in ending the war, which official figures indicate killed almost 200,000 people.

The prevalence of security forces throughout Algeria under the firm grip of just a few top military officials since the end of its war of independence with France in 1962 has caused many Algerians to avoid public demonstrations against the government. until now.

Lower oil prices have weakened Algeria's economy and made it more hard to buy off dissent as the government did in 2011 when it expanded welfare state measures.

Many Algerians believe Bouteflika is unfit to hold the presidency.

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