Algerians Continue to Demand Political Reforms at Latest Weekly Protest
Crowds estimated to be in the tens of thousands took to the streets of Algiers on Friday seeking political reforms and an end to the country’s ruling elite. It was the 33rd consecutive Friday of demonstrations, which began earlier this year to protest the continued rule of president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika, in power for 20 years – the last six of which he spent almost entirely out of sight due to a crippling 2013 stroke – had announced he would seek a fifth term in elections scheduled for April. The protests led him to back down and eventually resign. Demonstrators then began focusing their grievances on the entire ruling elite, including the military, and are now saying they’ll refuse to vote in an election now scheduled for December, saying it will only mean more of the same. The latest development, demands by Islamic clerics for faithful Muslims to vote, has now injected further anger among protesters.