Algerian lawyers take to streets to back anti-Bouteflika protests

Orient Net 2019-03-07 12:13:00

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Hundreds of lawyers in black robes took to the streets of downtown Algiers on Thursday (March 7) to press President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to step down after 20 years in power, adding momentum to the biggest protests there since the 2011 Arab Spring, Reuters reported.

Security forces were deployed to monitor the demonstration but as with previous protests, they did not intervene.

“The people want to overthrow the regime”, lawyers shouted. “Republic, not a kingdom,” others chanted.

The national association of lawyers has demanded that the authorities postpone the election and set up a transitional government.

An anonymous call for a general strike has gone largely unheeded but the leadership faces another test - an online call for a “March of 20 Million” this Friday.

On Wednesday, the influential Algerian war veterans association expressed support for the so far peaceful protests.

Two branches of powerful Algerian labor union UGTA, representing tens of thousands of workers, also opposed the re-election plan.

Some officials from Bouteflika’s ruling FLN party have turned up at demonstrations. Several public figures have announced their resignations in a country where personnel changes normally take place behind closed doors.

Protesters have praised the military, which has stayed in barracks throughout the unrest. But analysts and former officials say the generals are likely to intervene if the protests lead to instability in one of Africa’s biggest oil producers.