Celebrating arrests, but still pushing for change, protesters rally in Algeria

By Hamid Ould Ahmed ALGIERS (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the Algerian capital for the 17th consecutive Friday, demanding the removal of the ruling elite and prosecution of former officials linked to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. After 20 years in power, Bouteflika quit on April 2 under pressure from protesters and the army, but protests have continued

Reuters June 15, 2019 00:10:59 IST
Celebrating arrests, but still pushing for change, protesters rally in Algeria

Celebrating arrests but still pushing for change protesters rally in Algeria

By Hamid Ould Ahmed

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in the Algerian capital for the 17th consecutive Friday, demanding the removal of the ruling elite and prosecution of former officials linked to former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

After 20 years in power, Bouteflika quit on April 2 under pressure from protesters and the army, but protests have continued.

The demonstrators are pushing for radical change and seeking the departure of senior figures, including politicians and businessmen, who have governed the North African country since independence from France in 1962.

There was no official count, but a Reuters correspondent estimated that the number of people protesting was higher than last Friday. It was still smaller than in the weeks before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in May, however.

At this week's rally they celebrated the arrest of several former officials and business people linked to Bouteflika on anti-graft charges, demanding more action.

"You have built prisons, you will be imprisoned there all," read one banner held up by protesters marching through central Algiers, scene of mass dissent since February.

On Thursday, the supreme court remanded ex-prime minister Abdelmalek Sellal in custody over graft allegations.

State media also said police had arrested Mourad Eulmi, head of the private firm SOVAC, a partner of Germany's Volkswagen AG, at a car assembly plant in the western province of Relizane in connection with "corruption cases". It did not elaborate. Volkswagen declined to comment.

On Wednesday, the supreme court ordered the detention of another former prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, for alleged involvement in corruption.

Bouteflika’s youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have also been placed in custody by a military judge for "harming the army’s authority and plotting against state authority".

Protesters rejected an offer from interim President Abdelkader Bensalah to hold a dialogue with all parties after authorities postponed a presidential election previously planned for July 4. No new date has been set for the vote.

"We need real dialogue", read one protest banner. Protesters have rejected Bensalah as too close to Bouteflika.

Armed forces chief Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, who has been managing the transition, has called on parties and protesters to meet among themselves to discuss a way out of the crisis.

He also called for the prosecution of officials accused of being corrupt, after which the wave of arrests started.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

British newspaper distribution hit by Extinction Rebellion blockade
Business

British newspaper distribution hit by Extinction Rebellion blockade

By James Davey LONDON (Reuters) - Distribution of several British newspapers was disrupted on Saturday after climate change activists blockaded printworks used by Rupert Murdoch's News UK, publisher of The Times and The Sun, drawing condemnation from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

'Keep calm and support Barnier': French minister denies Brexit negotiator sidelined
Business

'Keep calm and support Barnier': French minister denies Brexit negotiator sidelined

PARIS (Reuters) - France denied the European Union's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was about to be sidelined by EU leaders in a bid to break the deadlock in trade talks, as reported by British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. Twisting a famous British war slogan, European affairs minister Clement Beaune tweeted on Saturday: "Keep calm and support Michel Barnier".

Mexico rejects ex-President Calderon's bid to register new political party
World

Mexico rejects ex-President Calderon's bid to register new political party

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's National Electoral Institute (INE) has denied former President Felipe Calderon's bid to register his Free Mexico movement as a new political party, saying some of its funding was questionable.