Algerians demand removal of all vestiges of Bouteflika regime

Ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for December 12, tens of thousands of people took to the streets against the continuing presence of associates of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika in power

December 02, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Algeria protests
Thousands of Algerians take part in an anti-government demonstration against Bouteflika regime figures in Algiers, Algeria on November 5. (Photo: Farouk Batiche/Anadolu Agency)

Protesters took to the streets on Friday, November 29, across Algeria, demanding that any future election in the country must be preceded by the complete removal of the regime of the now deposed ex-president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Tens of thousands of Algerians, part of the Al-Hirak movement, protested for the 41st consecutive week against the country’s ruling regime, and the presidential election scheduled for December 12.

Insisting that there must be no participation by officials and politicians associated with Bouteflika’s government in future elections, the protesters also demanded that the army should not interfere in the political and civilian affairs of the country.

In the cities and towns of Algeria, including the capital Algiers, protesters raised slogans like ‘we swear to God you will not organize the elections, Bedoui and Bensalah must be expelled’, ‘there will be no vote, we swear we will not stop’, ‘no to the election, free the detainees’, and ‘the army should leave politics’. 

Slogans were also raised against the presidential candidates, such as the former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Protesters alleged that Tebboune is the favored candidate of the army and the previous regime. In fact, the four other presidential candidates are also allies and supporters of former president Bouteflika, some having been part of his government in the past.

The protesters were also seen carrying banners and placards reading messages such as ‘civilian, not military state’, ‘no to the generals, Algeria must take independence’, ‘we do not want the commander or military rule again’, and ‘they have the vote, we have the veto’.

Security forces reportedly used tear gas against the protesters. At least 25 people were also arrested prior to the march by the security forces.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, November 30, pro-regime and pro-election demonstrations were carried out in several cities, organized by the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) which is the country’s main labor union and close to Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front. More than 10,000 people were reported to have participated in these demonstrations supporting the December elections.