Students protest in Algeria on day Bouteflika due to submit election bid

Reuters , Reuters , Sunday 3 Mar 2019

People clash with anti-riot police during a protest against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plan to extend his 20-year year rule by seeking a fifth term in April elections in Algiers, ALgeria March 1, 2019 (Photo: Reuters)

Anti-government protests resumed in Algeria on Sunday when hundreds of students gathered in the capital to demand Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika abandon his plan to stand for a fifth term in April elections, witnesses said.

Algerians have taken to the streets since demonstrations demanding he step down began ten days ago. Bouteflika, 82, is due to submit his official election papers at the Constitutional Council in Algiers on Sunday, the deadline for candidates.

It is believed he does not need to do so in person. Bouteflika, rarely seen in public since he suffered a stroke in 2013, was by Sunday night still in Switzerland where he has been treated for unspecified medical checks for one week, according to Swiss media.

Hundreds of students gathered inside a university campus near the Constitutional Council, chanting: “No to a fifth term!”, witnesses said.

There was heavy security around the Constitutional Council, and police prevented students from leaving the campus a roughly 10 minute walk away.

Bouteflika had on Saturday changed his campaign manager, state media said. He has not addressed the protests against him - the biggest turnout in eight years.

Opponents say Bouteflika is no longer fit to lead the North African country, a major oil and gas producer.

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