Home Foreign Algerian University students protest Bouteflika’s presidential bid

Algerian University students protest Bouteflika’s presidential bid

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Algiers – Thousands of Algerian university students rallied on Tuesday to protest against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth five-year term in office.

The protests came a day after Algerian Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, said ballot boxes were the right way to choose a president.

“The elections will be held in less than two months, and people will have the opportunity to choose whomever they want,’’ Ouyahia said in a speech.

Tuesday’s protests, staged in response to calls by social media activists, took place in the capital Algiers and other cities of the North African country.

The protesters chanted: “No to the fifth term’’ and “we do not want Bouteflika or al-Saeed,’’ in reference to Bouteflika’s brother, who is being groomed to succeed him.

Security forces at the University of Algiers closed the gates and prevented students from leaving or entering the campus.

Thousands have taken to the streets since Feb. 22, to protest the 81-year-old leader’s plan to run in the April 18, presidential election.

Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public.

During the earlier protests, police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators.

Twelve persons were arrested for “public disorder, assaulting security forces and damaging property’’.

In recent years, Algeria’s finances have been hurt by the global drop in oil prices, prompting cuts in state subsidies.

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