Thousands protest against Algeria’s ruling elite

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power, demonstrators say those who supported him must go.

Demonstrators hold flags and banners during anti government protests in Algiers
Protests are in their tenth week, as demonstrators continue their calls for change [Ramzi Boudina/Reuters]

Thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria‘s ruling elite rallied in Algiers for a 10th Friday.

Former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change.

“The system must go” and “We are fed up with you,” read banners held up by protesters in central Algiers.

This latest demonstration took aim at Said Bouteflika, the former president’s brother. Protesters on Friday accused him of being the “leader of the gang” and want to see him put on trial.

Authorities have closed entrances to the capital, for the second week, blocking hundreds of cars as people drove in from outside Algiers. Some demonstrators arrived Thursday night to avoid being kept out of the city.


The protests, which began on February 22 and have been largely peaceful, have continued as many want the removal of an elite that has governed Algeria since independence from France in 1962 and the prosecution of people they see as corrupt.

Bouteflika has been replaced by Abdelkader Bensalah, head of the upper house of Parliament, as interim president for 90 days until a presidential election on July 4. 

Algeria’s wealthiest businessman and three other billionaires close to Bouteflika were arrested this week as part of an anti-graft investigation, state media said.

Algeria’s army chief Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said he expected members of the ruling elite to be prosecuted for corruption.

Salah intervened when Bouteflika sought to extend his fourth term, declaring him unfit for office in a bid to avoid prolonged turmoil.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies