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Algerian lawyers rally for Bouteflika’s resignation

Thousands of students, doctors and civil servants stage a protest to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step from power, in front of Central Post Office Square in Algiers, Algeria on March 19, 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]
Thousands of students, doctors and civil servants stage a protest to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step from power, in front of Central Post Office Square in Algiers, Algeria on 19 March 2019 [Farouk Batiche / Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of lawyers staged a mass rally in the Algerian capital, Algiers, on Saturday to demand President Abdelaziz Bouteflika step down from power.

More than 3,000 lawyers gathered in central Algiers before marching toward the premises of the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest judicial body, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter in the area.

The Constitutional Council monitors the presidential and parliamentary elections and referendums as well as looking into appeals, announces the final results, and examines the constitutionality of laws.

Limited clashes were reported between protesters and security forces, but no injuries were reported.

“We demand a change of the regime and go to a transitional period that is not run by the current political system,” lawyer Abdel Ghani Badi told Anadolu Agency.

Read: Algeria sees protests for 5th consecutive Friday

Meqran Ayat, another lawyer, said the Algerian regime was “turning its back to the demands of the people”.

Saturday’s rally came upon a call by the Algerian Bar Association to rally to call for Bouteflika’s resignation.

Last week, after several weeks of protests against his plan to stand for a fifth presidential term, the 82-year-old Bouteflika postponed elections slated for April 18 and officially withdrew his candidacy.

Algerians, however, continued to stage mass demonstrations – in several parts of the country – against the move, accusing Bouteflika of unconstitutionally extending his fourth term in office, which is set to expire next month.

In February, Algeria’s ruling National Liberation Front nominated Bouteflika, who has ruled Algeria since 1999, to run for a fifth presidential term.

Opposition figures had repeatedly urged the aging leader, who in 2013 was treated for a blood clot in the brain, to refrain from contesting the upcoming poll.

Read: Powerful Algeria party abandons Bouteflika

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