Algerians on Friday staged demonstrations in several cities, including capital Algiers, to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s planned bid for a fifth term in office.
According to local media reports, demonstrations were held in several Algerian provinces, including Annaba, Setif, Kalime, Jijel, Bejaia,Tizi Ouzou, Buira, Bumerdas, Tiaret, Relizane, Vahran and Ouargla.
On Thursday, security was stepped up dramatically in Algiers in anticipation of demonstrations.
On Friday, protesters marched from Algiers’ Belouizdad district to the city center, violating an 18-year ban on street demonstrations in the capital.
Some protesters chanted slogans against Bouteflika’s planned bid for a fifth presidential term. Others explicitly called for the overthrow of his regime.
Recent days have seen mounting calls on social media for countrywide demonstrations to protest Bouteflika’s decision to run in presidential elections slated for April 18.
Earlier this month, Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front officially nominated the 81-year-old Bouteflika — who has ruled Algeria since 1999 — to run for a fifth term in office.
Opposition leaders have repeatedly urged the aging head of state, who in 2013 was treated for a brain blood clot, to refrain from contesting the election.