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Algerians Protest against Bensalah for Downplaying Demonstrations

Algerians Protest against Bensalah for Downplaying Demonstrations

Saturday, 26 October, 2019 - 08:00
Mass anti-government protests in Algeria have entered their ninth month with demonstrators demanding an overhaul of the political establishment before presidential polls are held in December | AFP

“The people cannot be insulted,” a slogan Algerian demonstrators repeated against President Abdelkader Bensalah after a video surfaced showing the head of state reassuring Russian President Vladimir Putin that the protests in the African state won’t amount to anything.

At the beginning of the popular movement, nine months ago, millions of protesters on the street demanded Bensalah step down from power because he reminded them of Abdelaziz Bouteflika's reign, which was symbolized by corruption and mismanagement.

Algerians have been further angered by remarks made by Bensalah and broadcast by the RT television network, in which he "reassured" Putin that the situation in Algeria "is under control".

Footage of the comments has gone viral on social networks with Algerians saying they felt "humiliated" by Bensalah's comments.

It "is shameful and an insult to the intelligence of the Algerian people," one user tweeted.

"When you are president, you do not 'reassure' a foreign country on internal politics... (while) ignoring the millions of Algerians who are protesting for democracy," said another on Twitter.

According to RT, Bensalah met Putin on Thursday on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in Sochi.

"I asked to meet you to reassure you that the situation in Algeria is under control," Bensalah was quoted as telling Putin.

"The media has exaggerated the reality of what is happening in Algeria... although it is true that some elements are out on the streets each week" protesting, he added.

Algerians flooded the streets of the capital Friday to demand the overhaul of the political establishment and protest army-backed calls for presidential polls in December.

The demonstration came on the eve of a deadline for presidential candidates to register.

Bouteflika resigned in April under pressure from the street.

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