Thousands of Algerian protesters demand reforms, presidential vote delay
By Hamid Ould Ahmed ALGIERS (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital and other Algerian cities on Friday to demand the postponement of a presidential election and the removal of the ruling elite following the end of Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 20-year-rule last month. A political source meanwhile told Reuters the interim government was expected to extend the current transition period to allow time for preparations for the election. Friday's protest marked the 14th consecutive week of demonstrations
By Hamid Ould Ahmed
ALGIERS (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital and other Algerian cities on Friday to demand the postponement of a presidential election and the removal of the ruling elite following the end of Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 20-year-rule last month.
A political source meanwhile told Reuters the interim government was expected to extend the current transition period to allow time for preparations for the election.
Friday's protest marked the 14th consecutive week of demonstrations. They have continued through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan although numbers of the crowds are smaller than at the peak of the anti-Bouteflika protests.
They are calling for political reforms and the removal of all the clique of officials who have governed the North African nation since independence from France in 1962.
Bouteflika's removal paved the way for a transition period that is due to end with a presidential election on July 4. But
demonstrators now demand the resignation of interim officials in charge of supervising the vote, including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah, who replaced Bouteflika for 90 days until the election, and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.
"No to the July 4 election," protesters draped in national flags chanted as thay marched in central Algiers. Many held up banners that read: "Bensalah go, Bedoui go".
Similar protests broke out in Algeria's other main cities, including Annaba, Oran and Constantine.
The political source said the transtion period, which is due to end a few days after the scheduled July 4 election, could be extended by at least three months.
"Time is runing out and organisers have not finished preparations for the vote," the source said.
Armed forces chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah said last week that elections were the only way to get out of the crisis, but did not mention a date for the vote.
He reietrated calls for appeasement, mentioning the army's positive response to demonstrators' demands for the prosecution of people seen as corrupt.
Bouetflika's youngest brother Said and two former intelligence generals have been put in custody on charges of harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority.
Several businessmen have also been detained over allegations of involvement in corruption cases.
(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.