Algiers - Thousands of Algerians defied police cordons on
Friday and converged on the capital demanding the departure of the
country's newly appointed president Abdelkader Bensalah.
Protesters are calling for the resignation of Bensalah, who the
opposition sees as an ally of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Bensalah was appointed by parliament on Tuesday to lead the north
African country in a three-month transitional period after Bouteflika
was forced to step down.
Police on Friday blocked all access roads leading to the capital,
Algiers, to stop protesters from reaching the city, according to
Large numbers of riot police were also deployed in Algiers' major
public squares ahead of the protests, witnesses said.
But as the number of demonstrators swelled, police evacuated many of
the public areas.
Demonstrators also carried placards demanding the departure of
incumbent Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who was appointed by the
ex-president, and chairman of the Constitutional Council Tayeb
Demonstrators also chanted against the country's powerful military
chief, Gaid Saleh, after he had announced backing for the interim
president's handling of the transitional stage.
"It's a republic, not barracks," some demonstrators chanted. They
were reacting to Saleh's earlier comment that the removal of
Bouteflika-era officials would be "crippling."
Bouteflika, 82, was forced to resign on April 2 after weeks of
nationwide protests against his 20-year rule and pressure from the
Since Bouteflika's resignation, thousands of Algerians have taken to
the streets opposing his successor and demanding an overhaul of the
political system in the country.