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Algeria: Youth Refuse Constitutional Solution, Clash With Security Forces

Algeria: Youth Refuse Constitutional Solution, Clash With Security Forces

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 - 10:30
A series of clashes erupt between security forces and demonstrators in Algeria (Arabic Website)

Thousands of university students have taken to the street against the corruption-plagued politics in Algeria, refusing to yield to the army chief’s demand for popular backing of presidential polls slated for July 4 to elect a successor to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

In parallel, Algeria’s judiciary decided to try former prime ministers facing corruption charges to the Supreme Court.

Public streets in Algiers witnessed continued authority on civilian violence as dissent grew against ex-regime stalwarts remaining in power. Despite Bouteflika’s step down from power, demonstrators have continued to rally in Algiers and across the country, demanding that transitional bodies be set up ahead of any election.

They also want the departure of figures close to Bouteflika including interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui.

The army, a key powerbroker, has insisted the July 4 poll must go ahead and any change to the constitution would be up to a future president.

Hundreds of students from colleges, institutes and high schools gathered in the streets to protest against what they perceived as an attempt for the revival of the Bouteflika regime.

Contrary to the weekly protests, Tuesday’s march came after a speech given by the country's de facto ruler, Army Chief Gaid Salah, in which he attacked “conspirators and those seeking to block all possible solutions and drown the country in a political impasse."

Emphasizing "the need to accelerate the establishment of an independent body to organize and oversee the elections," Salah said holding the poll would "stop those who are trying to prolong this crisis."

Security forces broke up a student sit-in outside the government’s headquarters in Algiers, leading to limited clashes. No injuries have been reported.

The capital also saw thousands of students and faculty members stage demonstrations near the University of Algiers, where they chanted slogans against Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui and his caretaker government.

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