Algeria: Thousands Protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's 5th Term Bid

Africa News

Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of Algeria on Friday against ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika's bid for a fifth term, this is the largest demonstrations in years.

The streets and parks of Algiers and other cities such as Oran, Constantine, Setif, Tizi Ouzou, and Bouira were occupied by protesting Algiers just immediately after midday prayers.

This action brought about the presence of security personnel who use both physical barricades and tear gas to curb the level of violence. Police helicopters were spotted circling over. Among the protesting crowd was a heroine of the 1954-1962 independence war against France, Djamila Bouhired, 83, who said to reporters: "I'm happy to be here."

The aim of the protest is to send a signal of discontent to the gas-rich North African country's secretive leadership before the April 18 presidential election. One of the protesters, a 45-year-old public sector worker, Hamdane Salim, said "Look at the Algerian youth, all it is demanding is a valid president who can talk to the people,"

Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely appeared in public since then. The ailing leader has also not given any known speeches since he suffered the stroke.