Tens of thousands protest in Algeria three weeks before elections
Algiers - Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets
in Algiers on Friday rallying against the upcoming presidential
elections, as candidates continue their campaigns ahead of the
December 12 polls.
Protests began earlier this year in Algeria against Abdelaziz
Bouteflika's bid to run for a fifth term in office. In April,
Bouteflika was forced to resign under pressure from the street and
On Friday, protesters reiterated their slogan "All of them must step
down," which they have used for months, voicing their demand that key
Bouteflika-era officials should resign before the country holds new
While protests have taken place every Friday and Tuesday since
Bouteflika's resignation, rallies have increasingly gained momentum
in recent weeks as they hope to increase pressure on authorities in
the run up to the vote.
Algerian authorities have defended the election plan, saying it is
necessary to end the long-running stand-off in the country.
Five contenders are vying for the presidency, including Ali Benflis
and Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who both served as premiers under
Bouteflika, now aged 82, ruled energy-rich Algeria for two decades,
an era that was dominated by cronyism and mismanagement.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) warned that Algerian
journalists are under growing pressure to portray the election
Four journalists with the pro-government daily Le Temps d'Algérie
were suspended, when one of them accused management of censoring him
and "dictating a shameful editorial line." The other three were also
suspended when they walked out in solidarity, RSF said.