Algerians Step Up Anti-establishment Protests as Election Date Nears
Hundreds of people took to a main thoroughfare in Algiers on Thursday night to voice their displeasure with a presidential election scheduled for December 12. Their main chant was “No vote with the gang,” referring to members of a power elite they want to see thrown out. Demonstrations have taken place most Fridays in Algeria since February, when citizens took to the streets against the candidacy of ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in a vote that had been scheduled for April. The protest surge moved the country’s politically influential military to remove Bouteflika, with the election being pushed back until July, and then until next month. However this did nothing to mollify citizens, who have since turned their anger toward an entrenched system seen to be full of Bouteflika cronies, including both of the frontrunners in the coming vote. The latest protest, together with other recent demonstrations held in addition to the weekly Friday rallies, could indicate that public displeasure has moved into a higher gear.