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Algeria: Bouteflika Given State Funeral

Algeria: Bouteflika Given State Funeral

Sunday, 19 September, 2021 - 17:30
Algerians place roses on the tomb of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika during his funeral at the El-Alia cemetery in the capital Algiers on September 19, 2021. (Photo by RYAD KRAMDI / AFP)

Former Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, ousted in 2019 after mass protests, was given a state funeral on Sunday attended by senior officials.


Bouteflika died on Friday, aged 84. An armored vehicle decked with flowers pulled his coffin, covered with the national flag, on a gun carriage from his home in Zeralda, west of the capital, to the el-Alia cemetery in Algiers where five of his predecessors are buried.


Bouteflika had been ailing since a stroke in 2013. His public appearances had been rare in the final years of his presidency.


His long rule, riddled with corruption, ended in 2019 after months of street protests triggered by his plan to seek yet another term. The army chief at the time then demanded that he withdraw.


As well as Bouteflika's family, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb, and many ministers of the current government and military officers, including army chief of staff Lieutenant-General Said Chenegriha, were among the mourners.


Attendees also included foreign diplomats in Algiers.


French President Emmanuel Macron praised Bouteflika as a “major figure of Algeria’s contemporary history.” A statement Sunday from the president’s office noted Bouteflika’s role in Algeria’s struggle for independence from France, won in 1962 after a seven-year war, and his role as foreign minister for 15 years.


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