Has the Arab Spring arrived in Algeria?

Thousands are protesting what they call a "mafia" regime.

March 6, 2019 03:04
Students take part in a protest to denounce an offer by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Students take part in a protest to denounce an offer by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run in elections next month but not to serve a full term if re-elected, in Algiers, Algeria March 5, 2019.. (photo credit: RAMZI BOUDINA/REUTERS)


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Thousands of students protested on March 5 against Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, despite his announcement that he will serve only a year-long fifth term if he wins in the country's elections on April 18.

The students arrived at Odan Square and the Central Post Office in the capital Algiers and raised banners calling for the end of the President's reign.

"No to a fifth Bouteflika term," the students chanted, and "The people don't want Bouteflika," and "No to the mafia regime."

Security forces meanwhile backed down from their earlier decision to stop the protests by force, due to fears that the situation would blow up into a revolution.

"The students don't want this situation, in which a mafia regime controls the state," said student Ben Sharif Hamadi. "We will decide whether to escalate [the protests], including student strikes at every university if Bouteflika doesn't end his candidacy for president."

There were also protests in smaller cities near the capital, in which tens of students protested against the elderly president. Tribal areas saw thousands protesting what they called a "criminal regime."

Translated by Zack Evans.

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