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20 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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9TH WEEK OF MASS PROTESTS

Algerians demand more concessions

AFP, Algiers

Protesters in central Algiers yesterday staged their ninth weekly mass rally, galvanised by the departure of longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika but vowing to keep up their demands for sweeping reforms.

Algerians first hit the streets in huge numbers on February 22 after the octogenarian leader's announcement that he would stand for a fifth term in presidential elections that had been scheduled for Thursday.

But his departure early this month spurred demonstrators to seek further changes, notably the resignation of three senior Bouteflika allies.

Activists chalked up a second victory Tuesday as one of the three, constitutional council chief Tayeb Belaiz, followed Bouteflika to the exit.

But student Lyes Adimi, 24, said more change was needed.

"Just because Belaiz has resigned that doesn't mean it's over," she said. "What has the constitutional council ever done apart from validating the fraud of the system it belongs to?"

Protesters are demanding the resignation of the two remaining members of a group dubbed the "3B" -- interim leader Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui -- saying regime stalwarts should be entirely excluded from any political transition.

Belaiz's replacement, little-known senior judge and former prosecutor Kamel Feniche, is also seen as a regime loyalist.

On Friday, hundreds rallied outside the capital's iconic main Post Office building, chanting: "The people want them all to leave!" and "Barakat (Enough of) this system!"

Despite Bensalah calling a presidential election on July 4, Algerian demonstrations are demanding a broader overhaul of the political system.

The army "is convinced that the crisis can be managed through appeasement", said Geneva-based political scientist Hasni Abidi.

He said its strategy was one of "gradually minimising the scope of concessions".

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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