Hundreds of thousands of Algerians braved heavy rains on Friday to take to the streets again demanding the resignation of longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Hundreds of thousands of Algerians rallied on Friday to demand the immediate resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who is fighting for his political survival in the face of relentless protests and the desertion of long-time allies.
In heavy rain, protesters brandished Algerian flags and pamphlets. Police trucks were deployed but there were no reports of clashes between security forces and crowds that packed downtown Algiers. “We stay here until the whole system goes,” said Mahmoud Timar, a 37-year-old teacher.
Bouteflika, 82 and rarely seen in public since suffering a stroke [in 2013], bowed to the protesters last week by reversing plans to stand in elections for a fifth term and promising reforms to make the political system more inclusive.
But he stopped short of quitting and said he would stay on until a new constitution is adopted, effectively extending his present term. The move further enraged Algerians, and many of Bouteflika’s allies turned against him. “We are close to victory. The system is divided,” said restaurant owner Rachid Zemmir, 55, at Friday’s rally.