Algerian police today fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters demonstrating against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plan to extend his 20-year rule by seeking a fifth term in April’s elections, witnesses said.
The crowd was quickly building up, with tens of thousands walking through the centre of Algiers within one hour of the start of the protest, residents said.
Assembling in the city centre after Friday prayers, protesters chanted “Bye, bye Bouteflika” and “peaceful, peaceful”. Riot police were at the scene.
Since last Friday thousands have taken part in rarely seen anti-government protests. Bouteflika, 81, suffered a stroke in 2013, has been seen in public only a few times since and has given no known speeches in years.
Algeria has been run by the same group of veterans since the 1954-1962 independence war with France.