Politics

Central Algiers Protests Escalate

Thousands of individuals took to the streets as Central Algiers Protests Escalate on Thursday shouting “No vote! We need liberty!” as the authorities held a governmental election that a mass demonstration movement views as “a charade meant to keep the controlling elite in power”.

Ballot papers of the 5 governmental prospects are displayed at a ballot station in Algiers, Algeria December 12th, 2019.

Authorities hurried the crowd by using police batons to separate the marchers, however, they fell back as more protesters showed up.

The army, the greatest political player, sees the election as the only way to bring back order by naming a successor to Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was toppled by a popular uprising earlier this year after 20 years in power.

Big protests that brought down Bouteflika have continued for 10 months, and the demonstrators have actually sworn to boycott the election.

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A massive protest contentious in Algeria. – Archived Image

All five prospects that won approval to run are previous senior officials, consisting of two former prime ministers, and protesters state that “none is likely to challenge the army’s dominance”.

In central Algiers, some individuals were voting on Thursday as cops patrolled the streets on foot and in cars as a helicopter circled overhead.

” The country has actually gone into a crucial phase,” stated Aziz Djibali, 56, who went to vote at a ballot station near the prime minister’s office. “It’s time for Algerians to voice their opinions in harmony.”

However, Salim Bairi, a teacher sitting in the main cafe, was boycotting, asking, “What is the advantage of the ballot?”

Outside the capital, there were also reports of demonstrations.

In the Kabylie area, the main center of the protests against the ruling elite, a homeowner stated protesters stormed a ballot station in the town of Bejaia, ruining ballot boxes, and then quickly took to the streets in the town of Haizer shouting “No vote”.

Polling stations in some areas were still closed hours after the main 0700 GMT start of voting, witnesses stated that “Polls closed at 1800 GMT and no official results are expected until at least Friday.”

Bouteflika stepped down after the army withdrew its support for him back in April. The authorities were required twice to postpone the election to replace him, with votes formerly set up for April and also July.

The 5 presidential prospects are ex-prime ministers Abdelmadjid Tebboune and Ali Benflis, ex-culture minister Azzedddine Mihoubi, previous tourist minister Abdelkader Bengrine, and Abdelaziz Belaid, a former member of the judgment FLN celebration’s central committee. Central Algiers Protests Escalate as countless numbers continue to pack the streets, seeking a fair vote.

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Brian Andrews

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