Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Algerians Demand Army Quit Politics

Algerians Demand Army Quit Politics

Saturday, 5 October, 2019 - 08:00
Demonstrators carry national flags during a protest demanding the army quit politics, a purge of the ruling elite, an end to corruption, and the freeing of opposition leaders in Algiers, Algeria October 4, 2019. REUTERS/Abdelaziz Boumzar

Hundreds of thousands of Algerians took to the streets on Friday demanding the army to quit politics and protect the democratic state that they have been calling for since February 22.

The demonstrators in the capital Algiers and several other cities, rejected what they called the army’s dictatorship, and shouted slogans against the ruling elite, an end to corruption, and the freeing of opposition leaders.

The army sees the December 12 presidential election as the only way to quell the protests and end the constitutional limbo that has prevailed since president Abdelaziz Bouteflika stood down in April.

Demonstrators have rejected the election, however, saying it could not be free or fair while Bouteflika's allies and military leaders maintain senior positions in the government.

On week 33 of the protests, Algerians slammed candidates, accusing them of being part of the regime in ignoring the people’s demands.

Meanwhile, the head of the independent electoral commission, Mohammed Sharafi, downplayed the recent events in the Kabylie region where protesters blocked the offices of the electorate census to express their rejection of the elections.

Sharafi told reporters on Friday that the head of municipalities from the region, who have rejected to cooperate with the election commission, don’t have the right to stand against the preparations for the polls.

He said the commission was adamant to organize the elections, calling for an honorable competition among candidates.

Algerians are divided between those calling for the election so that the country has a legitimate president and those rejecting it.

More than 100 candidates are running in the elections.

Editor Picks