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Algeria: Deputies resign from ruling party, join protests

People attend a demonstration to protest against candidacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in Algiers, Algeria on March 01, 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]
People attend a demonstration to protest against candidacy of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fifth term in Algiers, Algeria on March 01, 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]

Several deputies have resigned from Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front (NFL) and joined the protests.

The Algerian authorities stopped train and metro services in the capital Algiers yesterday amid tight security measures, as thousands of demonstrators gathered in the centre of the city, chanting slogans against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s intention to run for a fifth term in office, according to Agence France-Press (AFP).

At noon, men and women raising Algerian flags continued to gather at the Grand Post Office square in the heart of the capital.

This was the third week of mass protests, the biggest challenge to the 82-year-old president who has ruled the country for 20 years and is running on 18 April to win a new term.

Tens of thousands of Algerians are demanding that Bouteflika step down, fed up with the dominance of veterans who fought the War of Independence from France between 1954 and 1962. However, despite his deteriorating health, Bouteflika has vowed to run again for the presidency.

On Sunday, the Algerian president issued his first warning to protesters, saying that unrest could destabilise the country.

Bouteflika, who is currently in a hospital in Geneva, Switzerland, has now spoken in public since he had a stroke in 2013.

Read: Algeria calls for ‘March of 20 Million’ to end Bouteflika’s rule

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