Protests in Algeria leave 183 injured

Published: March 03, 2019 13:15:24 | Updated: March 05, 2019 19:00:09


Police officers try to disperse people trying to reach the government palace during a protest against the President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's plan to extend his 20-year rule by seeking a fifth term in April elections in Algiers, Algeria on March 1, 2019 — Reuters photo

A total of 183 people were injured during protests across Algeria on Friday against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for election to a fifth term, the state news agency APS said on Saturday, citing the health ministry.

One person died of a heart attack, officials said earlier.

Tens of thousands of protesters called on the ailing, 82-year-old Bouteflika to abandon plans to seek re-election in an April presidential vote — Algeria’s biggest anti-government rallies since the Arab Spring eight years ago, according to a Reuters report Sunday.

He has not formally confirmed he will stand, although representatives have indicated he will do so. APS reported on Saturday that Bouteflika had named Abdelghani Zaalane as his campaign director.

Friday’s protests were mostly peaceful but scuffles between police and protesters broke out in the evening near the presidential place in the capital Algiers.

Algiers was quiet on Saturday.

Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and has been seen in public only a few times since. His re-election bid stoked resentment among Algerians who believe he is not fit to run the major oil- and gas-producing country.

Bouteflika’s campaign manager had said on Tuesday he would submit his official application on Sunday, the deadline for candidates. Bouteflika, who turned 82 on Saturday, has not directly addressed the protests.

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