- Created: Friday, 19 April 2019 11:05
- Written by Elias Haddad
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have come out in Algeria’s cities against president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN) government. The 82-year-old Bouteflika has been in office since 1999, and the FLN has held power since its victory in the heroic anti-colonial liberation war against France in 1962. Demonstrations against Bouteflika started on 16 February and are continuing as we go to press six weeks later. They were sparked by the president’s announcement of his intention to run for a fifth term in upcoming elections. Protesters found the announcement ‘humiliating’ as Bouteflika has been ill and rarely appeared in public after a stroke in 2013. While past election results have been questionable, Bouteflika has maintained between 80% and 90% of the vote. A five-day strike, starting on 10 March, paralysed the capital and key economic sectors. Transport in the cities, oil and sugar production and higher education were stopped during the strike. Protests have been largely peaceful, with few clashes between protesters and police.