Hundreds of thousands march against Algeria's Bouteflika

Orient Net 2019-03-30 08:29:00

expressive image

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Algiers on Friday (March 29) to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in the biggest demonstration since unrest erupted six weeks ago, Reuters reported.

In at least one location, a Reuters correspondent saw police opening fire with tear gas and rubber bullets, and chasing and beating demonstrators, after youths ha hrefed stones at them.

The turnout came days after the military called for the aging leader’s removal to end a growing political crisis. State television showed protests in several other cities.

The protests have been largely peaceful but have put pressure on the army to act. Some witnesses estimated the number of people on the streets on Friday at around one million, but authorities said the number was lower.

While many people resent the power held by Bouteflika and his shrinking inner circle, they also reject the idea of army intervention in civilian political life.

Families stood on balconies above the streets cheering the marchers, who ranged from journalists, doctors and teachers to homeless people.

The crowds shared out dates and water and bought ice cream from street vendors.

The army chief of staff, Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah, on Tuesday asked the Constitutional Council to rule whether the ailing 82-year-old president was fit for office.