Tens of thousands of Algerians took to the streets again Friday night to fight against the government’s plan to once again put 81-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika forward as the presidential candidate.
The elderly leader has been in power since 1999 and is struggling with very fragile health. In many places, the protest went peacefully, but in Algiers especially, fighting broke out between demonstrators and the police.
One person was killed when panic arose. Local media reported that it was a 60-year-old man who collapsed. According to the local government, 56 agents and seven civilians were injured. 45 arrests have been made.
A large crowd, young and old, gathered after the Friday prayer. “There is no fifth mandate Bouteflika!”, “Away with the murderer’s regime” and “Bye, bye Bouteflika” the demonstrators chanted according to the Algerian media. It has also been called: “The people do not want Bouteflika and no Said either.”
In the eyes of many, the country has been ruled by a corrupt group for decades. The youngest brother of the president, Said Bouteflika, is seen as a critical figure in that group.
He is 61 years old and appears, just like his twenty-year-old brother, who has been attached to the wheelchair since a stroke in 2013, rarely in public. Several demonstrators demanded a healthy president who talks to the people. The elections are in April.